Poor trailer maintenance and concern over the transport manager role has led to the licence held by Manchester-based BTS Haulage being cut from 120 vehicles and 240 trailers, to 90 vehicles and 240 trailers by North Western Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell.
In January, vehicle examiner Martin Garlick carried out a maintenance investigation after a trailer was presented for annual test with part of the braking surface detached. Three vehicles and 30 trailers were examined and three immediate prohibitions issued to trailers.
Over the past five years, 12 immediate and three delayed prohibitions, two of which were 'S' marked, had been issued. Since Garlick's investigation there had been three further prohibitions, including an immediate prohibition on a trailer at annual test for an inoperative parking brake.
MD and transport manager Crispin Gilson said that following the vehicle examiner's visit, they checked over every trailer and had tightened up the criteria for replacing brake discs. Drivers had been retrained on daily walk-round checks.
Having looked at maintenance records produced at the hearing, Garlick said he was satisfied that the firm had taken steps to put matters right.
However, the TC was appalled after Gilson admitted he had not looked at the driver defect reports or safety inspection records. He also admitted he had not yet made any plans for Driver CPC training, although he and the other transport manager, Christopher Pears, were to attend a seminar on the subject.
Pears said he was also the contracts manager, spending about 20 hours a week as transport manager. He admitted he had not looked at the maintenance records, concentrating more on the tachograph side. Consideration would be given to him relinquishing his contracts manager role.
The TC said she was concerned that the transport managers had not been carrying out their role properly, but felt the company had readily responded to criticism.
A series of undertakings were given, including to commission a full FTA O-licence-compliance audit, and that all drivers receive training in driver-related compliance issues.
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