An operator that demonstrated “an almost wholesale abrogation” of its responsibilities to ensure drivers hours and tachograph rules were observed has had its licence revoked.
Oldbury, West Midlands-based H&J Transport ran 10 lorries and 10 trailers but in July 2019 the DVSA passed a report to the traffic commissioner showing that the operator was failing to download drivers’ digital tacho cards and vehicle tacho unit data within the required time limits.
Drivers were clocking up “numerous, repeated and significant infringements” and some had frequently driven without a card inserted in their tacho unit.
The operator, whose sole director and nominated transport manager was George Hunt, was only analysing tacho data annually, although the DVSA report showed that he had stopped paying even for annual analysis as Hunt had stated “he knew his drivers were breaking the rules and that he didn’t need to pay an analysis company to be told that.”
The report also revealed that Hunt held his transport manager qualification through acquired rights and he had never undertaken any form of refresher training.”
TC Nicholas Denton called the operator and transport manager to a PI, although Hunt then wrote to the TC’s office saying he had resigned as transport manager, the company had ceased trading and he was surrendering his licence.
However, TC Denton refused the offer of surrender and the PI went ahead, despite Hunt not appearing.
The drivers that did attend told the PI H&J Transport left it to them to drive to a tacho analyst to have their cards downloaded, but they had frequently failed to do this as they were never paid for the extra journeys.
While the company had never explicitly instructed them to ignore the law, the culture was one of “get back to the yard whatever it takes.”
In a written decision, TC Denton said Hunt as transport manager was not of good repute. He made no effort to run a compliant drivers’ hours regime and any improvements in compliance he claimed to the DVSA were untrue.
No evidence of finances were presented and the operator had failed to keep vehicles fit and serviceable.
He revoked the licence immediately, disqualified the company and disqualified Hunt indefinitely as both a director and as a transport manager.