Licence curtailed after boss drove prohibited truck

Chris Tindall
October 24, 2023

An operator in Greater Manchester whose director was convicted of driving an HGV after the vehicle attracted several prohibition notices has escaped with a temporary curtailment.

North West traffic commissioner (TC) Gerallt Evans said he believed he could trust Mr Chauffeur, which runs five lorries out of two premises in Wigan and Rochdale, to be compliant in the future after the international operator appeared at a public inquiry (PI).

One of its trucks was stopped by DVSA officers, who found it was being used after its annual test had expired. They also identified instances of driving without a card.

A month later, a lorry belonging to Mr Chauffeur was issued with an S-marked prohibition and a prohibition for an insecure load.

Company director Patrick Szofer was subsequently convicted of driving the truck in contravention of the prohibition, as well as 15 counts of permitting such use. He was fined £1,459 and the company was fined more than £9,000.

A follow-up maintenance investigation made satisfactory findings overall, although there was evidence of stretched inspection intervals and the MoT failure rate was well above the national average.

Ahead of the Golborne public inquiry, the operator provided the TC with an audit showing it was mostly compliant, but brake tests were not being recorded at the recommended frequency.

TC Evans also received submissions from Szofer, who said the prohibition was the first since he had begun operating and he had been unaware of the process to be followed to lift the prohibition.

At the PI the director explained that problems arose after the firm rapidly expanded and began using more vehicles and drivers. Transport manager Malgorzata Wielgusiak told the TC she had learned lessons from the experience and was now booked onto a course for effective management of truck maintenance.

In his written decision, TC Evans said: “There do now appear to be appropriate systems and procedures in place to prevent O-licence failings.”

However, he added: “Although the number of prohibitions is not significant, this must be balanced with the serious matter of the convictions for use of the vehicle while it was still officially prohibited.”

He curtailed the authorisation to one vehicle for 28 days. Wielgusiak was given a formal warning.

About the Author


Chris Tindall

Chris Tindall started writing for the haulage and logistics industry in 2002 and has covered a broad range of significant issues, including GPS jamming by criminals, platooning and Brexit.

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