Motherwell-based haulage firm Firstline International has lost a second appeal against the revocation of its O-licence and disqualification of its director.
The Upper Tribunal found that traffic commissioner (TC) for Scotland Joan Aitken was right to determine that William Lambie could not be trusted to run a compliant business after he allowed a driver to use his digital driver card to falsify records.
The company’s O-licence will be revoked from midnight on 25 July and it will be disqualified from holding a licence for two years. Lambie will be disqualified from holding an O-licence and acting as a transport manager for two years from the same date.
The decision last month followed a rehearing by different members of the Upper Tribunal in May after a judge questioned the proportionality of the Upper Tribunal’s decision to uphold the revocation following the first appeal hearing in January (CM 31 March).
Director William Lambie argued that the TC gave insufficient credit for his 30-year history as a compliant operator and said the decision was unduly harsh.
The Upper Tribunal agreed with the TC that there was no justification for the late identification of the driver Lambie had lent his card to.
It also found Lambie could not have been sure the driver had the correct entitlement, as Bulgarian driving licence documents supplied to the Upper Tribunal did not mention the driver’s name.
“The TC was right to find that Mr Lambie knowingly permitted an individual to drive goods vehicles on public roads in this country without knowing whether he was licensed to do so.
“Following on from that, the commissioner cannot be criticised for taking this into account in assessing whether Mr Lambie had lost his good repute,” said judge Edward Mitchell in the Upper Tribunal’s decision last month.
Lambie also argued that the TC failed to take into account certain matters that would have helped his case, which included no adverse maintenance reports, fitting the entire fleet with digital tachographs and the involvement of a transport consultant.
The judge said the positive changes that had been made “did not resurrect the trust that had been lost”.
The judge said: “None of the TC’s decisions were disproportionate regulatory responses. They were all justified by the TC’s conclusion that Mr Lambie could not be trusted to run a haulage business in compliance with the regulatory scheme.”
- This article was published in the 14 July issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe to get 12 issues for £12?