A West Sussex operator has had its licence revoked after demonstrating system failures across the transport operation, despite help from the DVSA.
Traffic Commissioner Sarah Bell said the director of JJ Reclamation, Joseph Ray, had shown a fundamental lack of understanding of the importance of systems, and drivers were ticking as ‘working’ items on defect sheets that did not even exist on the lorries they were driving.
An investigation by a vehicle examiner and traffic examiner in 2019 found basic failings across the board at the company, with the firm having no system for managing and controlling the transport side.
A follow-up hearing before the TC showed that there were still issues around attention to detail, particularly with regards to rest breaks.
Maintenance paperwork remained “disappointing”, despite the operator being given advice on it.
She said a positive feature was that there was now clear analysis of drivers’ hours and tachographs, but there was no evidence that driver cards were being analysed against the vehicle data unit.
In a written decision, TC Bell said: “The driver defect reporting system also remains a concern. Only two defects were picked up in three months’ worth of records of two vehicles.
“There are driver reportable items on PMI sheets, including one with a wiring defect and therefore not just a blown blub.
“However, the related driver defect sheets were ‘nil’.
“There remains systemic failures across the transport operations despite the cogent help and advice from DVSA in January and April 2019.
“How an operator reacts to an interventions is telling in any assessment of trust moving forward.
“I summarise the response as late and limited.
“There is a lack of competence within the business which could easily have been remedied long before the hearing.
“Instead the relevant individual has only properly put his mind to the risks at the eleventh hour.”
TC Bell added that if revoking JJ Reclamation’s licence, which was for three HGVs operating out of a base in Henfield, put the operator out of business then this “would not be an unintended outcome”, but she stepped back from disqualification:
“It is therefore open for a new application to be made but there is no guarantee it will be granted.
“The success will depend on the merits at the time.”