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Licence suspended for misuse of digicard

  • 17 September 2012
  • By Roger Brown

Scottish traffic commissioner (TC) Joan Aitken has suspended the vocational licence of a former driver at KC Logistics for nine months, after she was told how he had used another driver’s digital tachograph card to falsify his records.

At public inquiry and driver conduct hearings in Edinburgh in March and May 2012 respectively, the TC said that John Ferguson, a driver at the Grangemouth-based haulier had made the “disastrous step” of crossing the line into dishonest use of another driver’s digital card.

A Vosa traffic examiner visited the firm’s premises in March 2011 following an intelligence tip-off.

The examiner discovered that Ferguson had used a digital driver card in name of John Cairns in the period 3 February 2011 to 7 March 2011, thus creating 20 drivers’ hours offences. Ferguson confirmed this in a formal interview.

On 5 February 2011, Ferguson had driven a vehicle specified on the O-licence of related company JC Environmental Solutions, using the digicard of Cairns.

In doing so, Ferguson was concealing that he was on his 14th day of continuous driving.

Ferguson said he had broken the rules on driving hours with the tachograph cards because it was the only way he could make enough money to pay his mortgage and support his family.

In her written decision, the TC acknowledged that Ferguson had since stopped working for KC and he was unlikely to ever repeat the behaviour.

The Vosa investigation revealed that there was also an arrangement between Ferguson and his employer that led to the avoidance of paying national insurance and PAYE.

Aitken said that Stewart Craft, who helped run KC, had exploited the business naivety of Ferguson, with regards to the payment arrangements.

The TC suspended KC’s licence for a month and she also curtailed the licence held by JC from 10 to seven vehicles until 1 October.

She concluded that Ferguson’s motivation “was quite simply financial”.

“He dishonestly and knowingly used another driver’s digital card to make a false record of his driving such that any roadside enforcement officer, whether Vosa or the Police, would take him as compliant when in fact he had not taken the rest which all drivers need to take to protect them fatigue,” she said.

“It is very serious indeed to falsify records by the use of another person’s card.”

With regards to the behaviour of the company, Aitken added: “An operator simply cannot hand a tranche of work over to a driver and then turn a blind eye to how the work is done and then make a gross payment”.

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Article source: http://www.commercialmotor.com:80/latest-news/licence-suspended-for-misuse-of-digicard