A South Wales operator that “opted to put commercial advantage before safety” by committing more than 100 drivers’ hours offences has been disqualified for five years.
Nick Jones, traffic commissioner (TC) for Wales, said it was difficult to identify any positive features in the operation run by Pontyclun, South Wales-based Mark Seldon, who regularly used two driver cards to hide excessive working hours and failed to keep his vehicles in a roadworthy condition.
In addition to his disqualification as an operator, Seldon also had his vocational driving licence revoked and was disqualified from applying for a new HGV licence for four years.
The TC also took a dim view of Seldon’s refusal to attend the public inquiry (PI) earlier this month, as he opted to continue working instead.
An investigation into the business was prompted after the issue of S-marked prohibitions to a vehicle and a trailer for a number of safety failures that the TC said a competent driver should have identified.
Further enquiries showed that Seldon was operating from his home address without permission for about a year; a vehicle had been used while a PG9 was enforced; and he operated two trailers despite being authorised for just one.
Maintenance standards were also poor and inspections were not carried out at the frequency required.
DVSA evidence presented at the PI suggested Seldon had made “deliberate efforts” to avoid contact with enforcement staff and an examiner
had difficulty in obtaining the second driver card from him.
No drivers’ hours information was supplied to the DVSA, but tachograph data downloaded from the vehicle showed the regular use of two cards by Seldon. Over a three-month period, he committed 105 drivers’ hours offences, including 47 of creating false records.
During an interview with a DVSA examiner, Seldon admitted to regularly working a 70-hour week, breaching the limit set by the Working Time Regulations.
He was also fined £7,000 for the drivers’ hours offences at Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court in April, after pleading guilty.
“The operator systematically used a second driver card to which he was not entitled with view to circumventing the law,” the TC said in his written decision.
Jones said he had “failed lamentably” in his role as a transport manager and had lost his repute. He said: “It is not a case of negligence; he has opted to put commercial advantage before safety of his vehicles and the safety of other road users who are jeopardised by his working excessive hours.
“It is proportionate that he is disqualified from holding or applying for any transport manager position for an indefinite period of time.”
Jones said Seldon would have to seek an alternative career for a significant period of time, and said he had no sympathy for an operator, transport manager or driver who “deliberately and systematically cheats and creates false records with a view to obtaining financial advantage while putting other road users at significant risk”.
- This article was published in the 30 June issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe to get 12 issues for £12?