A Cornish operator’s maintenance arrangements “drove a wagon and horses” through its own management systems and were unacceptable, according to a traffic commissioner (TC).
TC Kevin Rooney said DG Carew & Son in Liskeard had knowingly used vehicles in a dangerous condition and maintenance could “hardly have been any worse” following a public inquiry (PI) in the Western Traffic Area.
The TC received a maintenance investigation report into the business by the DVSA, which he said painted a bleak picture.
It showed that PMI records were generally incomplete; there was no effective VOR system in place; vehicles with immediately prohibitable defects were being driven back from the maintenance provider 5 miles away; and it appeared that no driver walk-round checks were being carried out.
However, the enforcement agency also submitted a traffic examiner visit report, which by contrast had a mostly satisfactory outcome. It found that transport manager Jemma Carew, wife of director Matthew Carew, was keeping on top of drivers’ hours and tacho records.
At the PI, the TC noted that financial standing for the six vehicles it was in possession of was not met, and as it had already been given a period of grace to rectify this, revocation of the licence was now inevitable.
The couple appeared to be unsurprised by this outcome and Rooney said that they had described “difficult personal circumstances” to him.
In his written decision, the TC said: “Mrs Carew appears to have left the maintenance side of the operation to her husband and that is unacceptable.
“The process of defects being signed-off as rectified at the subsequent inspection drives a wagon and horses through the maintenance management system.”
Asking whether disqualification was also necessary, the TC said: “Vehicles have been used in a known dangerous condition – returning from inspection to the yard for repair. But this is balanced by the good drivers’ hours systems and I set it against the context of the family’s personal circumstances.
“By a fine balance, I find that no order for disqualification of either operator or transport manager is necessary.”
He added that the good repute of both the director and transport manager had been tarnished but not lost.