Openness about mistakes fails to save Northants haulier

Chris Tindall
April 14, 2021

The international licence of a Northampton haulier has been revoked after it failed to manage its maintenance effectively and created a road safety risk.

The appearance of Welland Autos Vehicle Movers (WAVM) at a Cambridge public inquiry was prompted by one of its vehicles attracting an immediate S-marked prohibition notice, after a traffic examiner found that six of six wheel nuts were loose. A subsequent investigation into the firm revealed that the haulier had no wheel nut or fixing torque log kept for any of its vehicles. It also found that there was no VOR system in place; no vehicle first use inspections; gaps in inspections and no effective maintenance contract in place. In response, David Argo, WAVM transport manager, told the DVSA he was working through the recommendations “and rectifying my mistakes”.

But in a written decision following the PI, TC Richard Turfitt said there were still gaps in inspections, an absence of record keeping and no evidence of brake tests.

The TC said: “It became clear that, even if the contractor had generated brake test print outs neither the director [Alan Pitkeathly] nor transport manager would have the knowledge to read them. On their own admission, neither of them is sufficiently up to date with current standards. Mr Argo was very frank in admitting that he had not moved quickly enough to address the concerns expressed by the DVSA examiners. By their own admission they have been too slow to react and they do not obviously possess the level of knowledge to achieve even the basic standards required under the operator’s licence.”

Turfitt added: “The failings still evident at the public inquiry result not from malintent but from being out of date and slow to respond. Mr Pitkeathly does not enjoy being the director and has, in any event, been content for Mr Argo to assume many of those responsibilities.”

As a result, the TC found that Argo had lost his repute and disqualified him from relying on his CPC until he attended a two-day refresher course. He said the openness displayed at the PI meant he would not disqualify the director, but he found that the operator had lost its repute and he revoked the licence.

About the Author

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Chris Tindall

Chris Tindall started writing for the haulage and logistics industry in 2002 and has covered a broad range of significant issues, including GPS jamming by criminals, platooning and Brexit.

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