Operators reminded to treat DVSA examiners respectfully after scaffolder has O-licence curtailed

 

Traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Jones has reminded operators and HGV drivers that DVSA enforcement staff have the right to carry out their responsibilities without fear of harassment and abuse.

His advice came after he curtailed the O-licence held by Telford-based A1 Scaffolding (Shropshire) from five vehicles to two for three months from 1 July after its driver became aggressive towards a vehicle examiner during a spot-check.

The driver, Paul Green, had his vocational driving licence suspended for two months. 

DVSA evidence given at a public inquiry (PI) and driver conduct hearing, which took place over two dates in January 2016 and February 2017, showed that Green became aggressive and had used foul language towards the examiner when she requested his digital tachograph card at a roadside check in 2015.

Green believed that, as the company only operated trucks with analogue tachographs, he did not require a digital card. Although he possessed the card at home, he did not carry it with him as required by law. He allegedly accused the examiner of making up the requirement just to earn money.

A1 Scaffolding (Shropshire) director Alexanda Bailey also allegedly became aggressive towards the examiner when he spoke to her on the phone.

Examiners also noted that three people were travelling in the cab, despite the truck only having two seats. They also found  the load of scaffolding was insecure and the HGV had a deteriorating brake hose. 

The examiners decided against issuing prohibitions for the offences due to the nature in which the driver and the director, who had arrived at the site to present Green’s digital card, were behaving.

Reaching his decision last month, TC Nick Jones said DVSA examiners should not be afraid of being able to do their job properly. 

He said: “If police officers had been present at the check site, as sometimes occurs, I have little doubt that they would have intervened.

“From his demeanour and from reflecting on the evidence as a whole, it would appear that the feature that made it so difficult for Paul Green to accept that he had done wrong was as a result of being told of his wrongdoing by a woman.

“How an individual behaves or an employee behaves is a matter of culture. Culture within a scaffolding set-up is determined by those who run the business.”

Bailey told the TC that he had since had a third seat put into the truck and had addressed the overloading issue. He also claimed that he had nothing to do with the police complaint Green had made about the examiner, which was later refuted.

Bailey also said he did not fully understand what the OCRS system was, and the operator’s vehicles had a 25% first-time MOT failure rate.

Jones said Bailey was dismissive of what had happened and “appeared reluctant to accept the blame for anything”.

He added that it was evident that drivers had not received proper load security training, and allowing an extra passenger to be carried showed that it “had not been bothered about safety”.

“Both drivers and operators should know that full co-operation must be provided to DVSA officials when they are conducting their business,” Jones said.