Application for return of cabotage truck fails

Commercial Motor
June 1, 2023

The traffic commissioner (TC) for Wales has refused to allow the return of an HGV to a Romanian haulage company after finding that it had failed to prevent cabotage breaches.

SC D’Agostino Autotrasporti applied for the return of its lorry after the DVSA impounded it following a roadside stop near Newport on 22 July 2022.

The driver confirmed to the enforcement agency that he was on a journey from Banbury to pick up a load in Cardiff.

Checks of the CMR documentation and the driver’s incoming ferry ticked showed that the vehicle had entered the UK on 16 July and it had not left since.

Analysis of the log of the vehicle’s loading and unloading confirmed that there had also been additional journeys that the driver was not carrying CMR documents for; and it was apparent that the HGV had conducted at least six separate cabotage journeys and was on its way to a seventh.

The traffic examiner then checked the DVSA’s ‘cabotage list’ and found that the company had previously received a pre-impounding warning letter and so the truck was confiscated.

SC D’Agostino Autotrasporti applied for the return of the vehicle and claimed that although the HGV had been used in contravention of the rules, the owner did not know it was being used in that way.

At a subsequent hearing, company MD Giampiero D’Agostino said the situation came about because of an error by an employee, who should have arranged for the vehicle to return to Calais with its trailer, but instead booked the trailer to travel unaccompanied.

However, TC Victoria Davies said: “I find it strange that this version of events was not previously mentioned in the application, or Mr D’Agostino’s written statement. There were no supporting documents to evidence that version of events.”

D’Agostino said it knew that the UK’s relaxation of cabotage rules was coming to an end and that it had therefore taken steps to avoid breaches,

But the TC added: “It was the same driver who was stopped and found to be in breach of cabotage requirements in May 2022 and in July 2022, clearly indicating that whatever instructions had been given had not been sufficiently
clear and robust.”

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