Failings stack up at builders’ merchant

Commercial Motor
July 6, 2022

The West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) has criticised an operator for neglecting almost all the undertakings it signed up to when it was granted a licence and for its widespread non-compliance.

TC Nick Denton said Walsall Builders & Timber Merchants (WB&TM) and its director Kamran Aftab had “ventured into the highly regulated world of HGV operator licensing without the slightest idea of what this involves” following a Birmingham public inquiry (PI).

The company first came to the DVSA’s attention after one of its vehicles was stopped in May 2021 and it was found that the tacho unit had never been downloaded.

It prompted a DVSA investigation, which found that WB&TM’s vehicles were parked on the public highway outside the authorised operating centre, on double yellow lines in a residential street and on the pavement.

Its operating centre was not large enough to allow its three HGVs to park there during the day when customers required access and materials needed moving around.

In addition, no brake tests were being carried out, vehicles had a 67% initial MoT failure, and preventative maintenance inspection sheets frequently reported defects that should have been identified by drivers.

Aftab did not appear at the PI and failed to submit any records or evidence ahead of the hearing.

In an email to the TC’s office two days before the PI, the director said he had a high temperature and a cold and he did not think he was well enough to attend.

Denton said in a written decision that having a cold a couple of days before a PI should not have prevented Aftab from submitting the requested records.

He also said he would never have granted authority for the operating centre if he had known the firm was going to park its vehicles on a public road.

“Mr Aftab signed the application form in which he undertook to ensure compliance with rules relating to maintenance of vehicles and to drivers’ hours rules, but in the event did nothing to ensure that these undertakings were carried out,” he added. “This has posed a significant danger to road safety and has constituted grossly unfair competition against compliant operators.”

The licence was revoked and Aftab was disqualified for two years.

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