A second haulier in as many weeks has been punished at a public inquiry for using an AdBlue emulation device.
TC for the West of England Kevin Rooney ruled that Patrick McNally, transport manager Western-Super-Mare-based Mactrans, has forfeit his good repute and would be disqualified for 12 months.
The action follows the revocation last week by another TC, Nick Denton, of the licence of Stoke haulier Rapid Response Deliveries after one of its vehicles was found with an emulation device.
The most recent inquiry, at Bristol, was told that Mactrans had used a device to defeat a vehicle’s emission control systems and as a result NoX emissions were approximately doubled.
Rooney said: “NoX emissions are considered currently to reduce life expectancy by, on average, five months. Emission controls from heavy duty diesel engines are a central part of the UK’s and Europe’s public health strategy. Circumventing emission controls is a serious matter.”
However, the inquiry heard that since the emulation device was found on the Mactrans vehicle a follow up investigation found generally good maintenance systems.
One area of concern was brake testing but the TC said he was told, and accepted, that the “situation has moved on”.
Rooney added: “This was a generally compliant operator who has made a very serious mistake. I consider the fitting of the emulator as equivalent, for example, to using a magnet to interrupt a tachograph. Each is an act of fraud. Each can kill, one just does it more violently and quickly than the other.
"For that reason the generally compliant operation cannot counterbalance this serious event and regulatory action is necessary.”
The TC was particularly critical of Patrick McNally, whom he said appeared to have delegated much of his role as transport manager to office manager Lynette Emery.
The TC added: “I was unimpressed with his [Patrick McNally’s] description of his drivers hours management systems. It was he who researched the fitting of the defeat device.”
Rooney said that he would have expected the transport manager to take legal advice or contact the enforcement agency before interfering with vehicle systems.
In addition to his measures against Patrick McNally, the TC suspended Mactrans O-licence for 14 consecutive days from 14 February.
A variation application made by the company to increase the number of vehicles on its licence was also refused.
This followed automatically because the disqualification of the existing transport manager means there is a failure to satisfy professional competence requirements.
The operator has a grace period of 3 months to specify a new transport manager and the TC indicated that he would probably be prepared to extend that to either Lynette Emery or proprietor Louis McNally, who would need to take their CPC qualification.
The DVSA found one in 12 operators it stopped between August and November last year using emission fraud devices.
It said the stop searches had been so succesful that it will be introducing new search locations in the UK this spring.