An operator that ran uninsured, untaxed and unroadworthy vehicles in order to maximise profit has been disqualified from holding an O-licence for a year.
Traffic commissioner (TC) for Wales Nick Jones said Bedwas, Caerphilly-based operator Syllamas prioritised commercial considerations over road safety and compliance with the law ahead of its plans to wind-down the business.
Jones determined that transport manager Stephen Morris had also acted as the shadow director of the firm. He was banned from holding an O-licence for three years while director Pauline Morris was banned for a year.
Stephen Morris had his vocational driving licence revoked and was disqualified from applying for a new one for a year; and was handed an indefinite ban on holding a transport manager position.
A DVSA examiner told a public inquiry (PI) that the operator came to the agency’s attention in January, following the issue of s-marked prohibitions to a vehicle and a trailer that did not have a valid MoT. Three fixed penalties were issued for mechanical defects, and the front and rear number plates were found to be in a poor condition.
The same vehicle was spotted in Swansea the following day. It was seized by police after it transpired that it was uninsured.
When the DVSA visited the operator’s premises, examiners discovered a trailer parked on the public road did not have an MoT. An s-marked prohibition was issued and Stephen Morris admitted he was aware the trailer had mechanical defects before it was moved on the road.
The company failed to keep a forward planner; did not use the maintenance provider specified on its O-licence; had no evidence of vehicle defects being rectified; exceeded the six-weekly preventative maintenance period; and was unable to demonstrate its financial standing.
Tachograph records showed the truck was used on 26 separate occasions while untaxed, covering 5,364km.
It also knowingly used the vehicle that did not have a valid MoT on successive dates after being stopped by the DVSA.
The vehicle examiner told the PI last month that Stephen Morris gave the impression he was attempting to gather as much financial reward as he could before winding down the business, and knowingly operated a seriously non-compliant fleet.
He also admitted his wife, director Pauline Morris, had little to do with the business and was director in name only.
Jones said she had allowed Stephen Morris to “act in a way that jeopardised road safety” and gave the firm an unfair advantage.
The TC gave Stephen Morris credit for his openness and accepted that the firm had not realised that its insurance policies had expired.
He said: “While I might ordinarily have sympathy with an operator facing problems due to personal and business problems, I have no sympathy whatsoever for this operator. In any event [Stephen Morris] did know that he was operating without valid MoT certificates, without tax and with unroadworthy vehicles.”