Removals firm that took its eye off the ball suspended from operating HGVs

Traffic commissioner Nick Denton

 

A “spectacularly ill-managed” removals firm will have its O-licence suspended for four weeks next month and will face revocation if it does not appoint a new transport manager.

West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton (pictured) also curtailed Birmingham-based The Grange Removals Company’s O-licence from eight vehicles to three following a public inquiry (PI) in September and October.

Transport manager Marc Byrne was banned for two years from carrying out the role in any EU member state after he “simply failed to do his job”.

The company was called to the PI after numerous offences were identified by the DVSA, many of which were committed by Byrne himself. These included a truck being driven without the driver holding a valid Driver CPC; using an analogue tachograph chart for more than 24 hours; mode switch errors; and driving for more than five hours without a break.

When vehicle unit data from the firm’s only truck with a digital tachograph was requested, data was not supplied until two months after the examiner’s visit. Driver card data was not provided at all.

Vehicle unit data showed the truck was driven without a tachograph card for eight days last year, covering 518km during that time.

The DVSA examiner found that no one had been exercising continuous effective control over the transport operation. Furthermore, the company had given an undertaking to appoint a new transport manager by the end of 2013, but Byrne did not apply to be listed on the O-licence until October 2015.

Safety inspection sheets did not have vehicle mileages or brake tests recorded on them, and nobody was signing vehicles off as roadworthy.

No one had a firm understanding of when vehicles were due in for maintenance inspections or when tachographs had to be calibrated.

Byrne admitted to the TC that he had failed to analyse tachograph data and knew some of it was missing. He claimed that his involvement in the sale of one of the company’s businesses had distracted him from managing the transport activities. He had also taken his eye off the ball following the death of two family members.

Denton said as a transport manager, Byrne should have been aware that he needed a Driver CPC to drive a truck professionally and said he should be setting an example to other drivers in respect to drivers’ hours compliance, not committing break offences.

“I do not regard the excuse that he was selling part of the business as at all adequate- compliance needs to be ensured at all times, not just when the transport manager has nothing else to do,” the TC said in his written decision.

On the positive side of the balance, the TC noted that there had been no prohibitions issued to the company’s vehicles since 2013 and its MoT pass rate had improved.

He allowed the company to continue to operate as he believed its issues had been exacerbated by family illness.

It’s O-licence will be suspended from 4 December to 1 January 2018 and the firm has been given a period of grace until 5pm on 2 January to appoint a new transport manager.