A plant hire and earthworks haulier has escaped disciplinary action by the TC following an unsatisfactory maintenance investigation and a host of drivers’ hours infringements.
In addition, North East of England TC Jayne Salt found that former Whitelock Plant transport manager Maxwell Stocks had his repute tarnished but not lost and that current TM Amreet Chouhan had not lost her repute.
A Leeds PI was called after a number of prohibitions were issued following two prior hearings in 2015 and 2018 and an unsatisfactory traffic examiner’s report, which brought into question the repute and professional competence of the company, as well as of the two transport managers.
The driver offences ranged from not having a CPC, not inserting a vehicle card and removing a vehicle card to make false records.
An unannounced visit to Whitelock Plant by a vehicle examiner also concluded that the company was not complying with previous maintenance undertakings.
This led to a detailed response from current transport manager Chouhan, who set out all the actions taken to minimise issues reoccurring, including amendments to driver defect reports to cover seatbelts, the introduction of tyre check record sheets and written reminders to drivers.
The TC noted that no driver gave evidence that directly contradicted the operator’s, with the exception of March Nizinskyj, who claimed he removed his driver’s card on the instruction of sole director John Whitelock.
Based on independent evidence, the TC concluded that this was not true.
Summing up, TC Salt said that on the negative side there was the range and number of drivers’ hours issues; the PI history; prohibition and MOT history, but that on the positive side was the investment in equipment, additional staff and training.
She wrote: “I am satisfied that this operator has made strenuous efforts to put procedures in place to ensure future compliance, and is intent on subjecting itself to further audit.”
She found that Stocks had laid the basis for improved systems, but he had not been adequately managing drivers’ hours compliance. His repute was therefore tarnished.
Chouhan had taken action and her systems were not criticised by the DVSA and her repute was not lost.
Six drivers had their licences suspended for between two weeks and 20 weeks, with Nizinskyj having his revoked and disqualified for 12 months.
In addition, an undertaking was added to the licence for the company to have roller brake testing on laden vehicles once a month.