A haulage director who admitted she “let her business go” when her son was born with physical disabilities has had her operator licence cut indefinitely. Parvinder Athwal, who was also transport manager of Entyre Transport, appeared before deputy traffic commissioner John Baker after a DVSA investigation uncovered a wide range of offences committed by drivers.
The false records and driver card offences were made at a time when Athwal had taken a step back from the Haywards Heath haulier to look after her son and instead allowed her husband Gurdial Athwal to run the business. A DVSA traffic examiner concluded that Gurdial was complicit in the false record offences and had committed many of them himself.
At an Eastbourne public inquiry, Athwal said she had no idea what had been going on in terms of offending until the DVSA investigation revealed the problems to her. She said she was now able to devote more time to her business now her children were in education and a team of people were supporting her son who had special needs. In addition, her husband was no longer involved in the business other than being an occasional driver.
In a written decision, the DTC said the offences committed by the drivers and Gurdial were at the most serious end of the scale: “Mr Athwal was at the time of the offences a director of the company and I agree with the traffic examiner that there is sufficient evidence to find that he was complicit in aiding and abetting other drivers to commit offences,” he said. “As far as Parvinder Athwal is concerned, whilst I have sympathy for her in respect of the difficulties she experienced with the care of her son, I cannot overlook the fact that she neglected her transport manager role to the extent that she did. She had alternatives she could have explored, such as obtaining the help of a transport consultant or employing an additional transport manager.”
DTC Baker also criticised her for taking on a transport manager role for three months at another haulage business at the same time she was experiencing family difficulties. Concluding, he noted that improvements had been made but that her repute was severely tarnished and the licence would be cut from seven vehicles to five.