A haulage boss who admitted he had instructed his grandson to drive a truck, knowing that he had not taken sufficient rest, has been disqualified for 18 months.
West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Jones found that there had been “large scale” illegal use of another drivers’ card by drivers working for sole trader David Duggan, who trades as Duggans Transport.
Duggan will have his O-licence revoked on 19 December and was disqualified from holding a transport manager position until he passes new CPC examinations.
Jones found drivers for the Leominster, Herefordshire-based business had been motivated to use the drivers’ card by the need to pay off debts and legal costs arising from a dispute with a neighbour.
A public inquiry, prompted by a DVSA investigation, was told that a drivers’ card in the name of Darren Goodall was regularly used by the operator’s drivers to conceal drivers' hours offences.
Nobody by that name was employed at the haulier and the card had been reported lost in March 2015.
Driver Paul Duggan told DVSA examiners that he had found Goodall’s driver card in a lay-by in 2014 and had kept it, and claimed he was the only person who had used it in order to hide excess driving.
However, it emerged that his brother Stephen Duggan had also used the card.
Analysis of vehicle unit data, driver card data and timesheets in August 2015 found that Daniel Duggan, David Duggan’s grandson, had committed drivers’ hours and records offences. At the time he held a provisional HGV licence and his grandfather would accompany him while he was driving.
David Duggan admitted that he had instructed Daniel Duggan to drive the truck, knowing he had taken insufficient rest owing to his full-time employment at another company.
He also confessed that not all drivers’ card data had been downloaded, nor had he taken copies of drivers’ licences or evidence of them having completed the Driver CPC.
Until very recently the haulier had not had the equipment to download the data, and he was unfamiliar with working time regulations.
Paul Duggan told examiners that he had failed to record other work that included undertaking trailer maintenance, accompanying Daniel Duggan, and making collections and deliveries.
The DVSA also found that the premises the operator used were not satisfactory for its O-licence, which authorised four vehicles and 10 trailers, nor could it demonstrate financial standing.
The TC said that while there appeared to be no maintenance issues, Duggan's lack of knowledge and control “demonstrates ignorance as to the minimum requirements for a safe compliant business”.
David Duggan was disqualified from driving HGVs for three months; Paul Duggan was disqualified from vocational driving for two months; and Daniel Duggan was disqualified from driving HGVs for six months.
The sanctions come into effect on 19 December.