Drivers' hours offences 'endemic' at Scottish firm

Ashleigh Wight
June 13, 2016

A sole trader who permitted drivers to serially commit drivers’ hours offences and create false records, allowing him to take on as much work as possible, has had his O-licence revoked and been banned for three years.

Scotland’s traffic commissioner (TC) Joan Aitken found that drivers’ hours offending was “endemic” at Broxburn, West Lothian-based business Francis Robert Trevor Cathers, which traded as Trevor Cathers.

A public inquiry (PI) in Edinburgh was told the business, which operated in Scotland and Northern Ireland, was operating without the supervision of a proper transport manager as the person named on the licence, Dorothy Cathers, was not undertaking her responsibilities. She was disqualified indefinitely.

The TC also found that Francis Cathers – known as Trevor Cathers – had ceded all responsibility for the Scottish O-licence to his son, Allister Cathers.

Allister Cathers applied for an O-licence of his own, which was also considered at the PI in April, but this was refused by the TC.

DVSA evidence revealed a “quick changeover” of digital driver cards in some of Trevor Cathers’ vehicles, with drivers admitting that they used other drivers’ cards to get their work done.

Between February and April 2014 driver Alasdair Lumsden was discovered creating a false record on 23 occasions, taking insufficient rest on 14 occasions, and exceeding 10 hours of driving on seven occasions. Lumsden surrendered his HGV driving entitlement before the hearing.

In the same period, Allister Cathers committed 24 false record offences, nine offences of exceeding the daily driving limit, 11 offences of exceeding fortnightly driving limit and exceeded weekly driving limit offences three times. He also failed to take weekly rest for 46 days and regularly took insufficient daily rest.

Allister Cathers received a prohibition in 2011 for magnet use, and admitted at the PI to using his father’s card as he did not want to refuse work.

In her written decision last month, the TC said Trevor Cathers undertook no drivers’ hours or tachograph analysis and did not check whether work could be completed compliantly.

“I observe that often a well-maintained and pleasantly liveried fleet serves to deflect from underlying non-compliance as may have happened here – outwardly professional in appearance but scratch the surface and non-compliance is found,” said Aitken.

She said DVSA examiners had not found “panicked errors of judgement” when investigating the business’s drivers’ hours compliance, but “an established regular pattern over three months, and not by one driver, but two”.

“Had the DVSA not investigated, I am in no doubt that the practices would have continued, such was the endemic offending in this business,” she added.

Although Allister Cathers could demonstrate the required level of financial standing, had a transport manager CPC, had arrangements for vehicle maintenance and tachograph analysis in place and disclosed fixed penalties in his application, the TC refused to grant him an O-licence.


. This article was published in the 9 June issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe to get 12 issues for just £12?

About the Author


Ashleigh Wight

Ashleigh is a former news reporter for Commercial Motor and Motor Transport and currently the editor of OHW+ and HR and wellbeing editor at Personnel Today.

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