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Extra card haulier has O-licence suspended

  • 13 March 2013
  • By Roger Brown

Deputy Traffic commissioner (TC) for Scotland James Astle has suspended the O-licence of Gordon Hunter Transport, after one of its drivers was discovered to have had two driving cards in his name.

In a written decision following a public inquiry held in Edinburgh in December 2012, the deputy TC ruled that the Lochgelly, Fife-based sole trader could not operate for 60 days from 31 January and reduced its authorisation from three to two vehicles from the same date, saying its conduct as an operator had been “seriously remiss” .

A Vosa traffic examiner told Astle that he found 29 instances of false driving records, where information registered about the journey was either inaccurate or incomplete.

He added that driver John Duncan had two driving cards in his name. In some instances, both cards appeared in different vehicles on the same day.

Owner-driver Gordon Hunter admitted the offences and said that his business had been busy during the period in question, and he had not wanted to let his customers down.

Hunter also told Astle that he accepted he should not have driven when he was “knackered” .

He admitted that he had discussed using the spare driving card with Duncan to get around drivers’ hours regulations.

He then accepted that the traffic examiner had found instances where the firm had used an LGV without permission.

However, Hunter told the TC that there had been no further offences since April 2011 and that he had put procedures in place to ensure the business would behave compliantly. He also produced evidence to show that maintenance standards were exemplary.

The TC ruled that the professional LGV driving licences held by Hunter, Duncan and another driver, Debbie Beattie, be suspended for 30 days from 31 January and disqualified the operator’s former transport manager, Thomas Hamilton, from acting as a transport manager throughout Europe.

He also criticised Hunter for failing to find a transport manager to replace Hamilton and report this matter to his office.

However, the TC accepted there had been no “methodical, systematic and planned campaign” to break the rules by Hunter and the drivers. “The commission of such offences is a matter relevant to his fitness to hold a licence,” he said.

Hunter made a commitment to the TC to keep independent analysis for driver records, driver training and a new disciplinary procedure.


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