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Tachograph chart gaps were not "breaks"

  • 04 June 2014
  • By Roger Brown

A transport manager who severely compromised his duties to satisfy his own firm’s main customer has been disqualified for 12 months by North East traffic commissioner Kevin Rooney.

At a May public inquiry in Leeds, Garry Hibbert appeared before the TC in connection with his role as transport manager for North West Transport Services and his nomination on a new licence application, in the North East traffic area, by the same company.

Following a DVSA investigation, a traffic examiner reported that the company and two drivers had been prosecuted for drivers’ hours offences.

Hibbert – also sole director of North West Transport Services – claimed it had been difficult to get one of the drivers to return his charts but the TC remarked this should have been an indication that the driver had something to hide.

In relation to another driver, who was convicted of 18 counts of false records, with 61 also taken into consideration, Hibbert told the regulator he thought gaps on the chart were breaks.

The driver was given a four-month prison sentence for the offences.

TC Rooney said: “Any competent transport manager would know that a chart will record a continuous trace and this is annotated with a series of symbols to show the driver’s activity and his rest.

“No trace means that the chart has been removed. The analysis provided by [the traffic examiner] Mr Mihailovic showed that very significant distances had been covered with the chart removed.”

Hibbert told the TC that a major contributory factor had been pressure from his main customer, which had led to him driving a 7.5t truck himself.

But it also came out in evidence that, during periods of driving, Hibbert had not recorded either his transport manager or director duties as other work.

TC Rooney noted that attempts had been made in writing to secure the return of tachograph charts.
However, he expressed surprise that Hibbert dismissed a driver then subsequently paid his court fine.

Hibbert said he had now stopped driving and the company was currently downloading 100% of tacho data.
In addition, drivers were subject to a scheme where £50 of their weekly wage was dependent upon a clear infringement report.

The firm’s North East licence was granted for four vehicles, subject to financial standing being satisfied.
Its existing North West licence was curtailed from four vehicles to one.

Undertakings relating to independent tachograph analysis, driver compliance reviews and a restriction on Garry Hibbert’s HGV driving were also recorded on both licences.

The company will have until 8 July to nominate a new transport manager on both licences.

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Article source: http://www.commercialmotor.com:80/latest-news/tachograph-chart-gaps-were-not-breaks