Polish driver Wojciech Trzeciak has been given a two-month prison sentence and a 12-month driving ban after he used a magnet to interfere with a truck's tachograph recording equipment.
Nottingham Crown Court last week heard that DVSA officers found a magnet had been used to interfere with the electronic information provided to other parts of the vehicle. There was no record of the complete driving hours or the usage of the vehicle.
The magnet bypassed the speed-limiter system, which would have been obvious to the driver as the speedometer would show zero, and it also compromised the ABS and EBS braking systems and the suspension balance system.
A controlled experiment using an identical vehicle showed that the audible and visible alarms in the cab would have also not been working.
Trzeciak pleaded guilty to two counts of using a false instrument under the Forgery Act, and one count of dangerous driving.
Because he had been remanded in custody since 21 January, judge Gregory Dickinson directed that Trzeciak be immediately released.
Trzeciak will also have to take an extended driving test to regain his driving licence.
His solicitor told the court that he had been a lorry driver for 21 years and had never had any previous convictions. What he had done came down to the targets he had been expected to meet by his employer.
Judge Dickinson said tampering with the safety of an HGV was plainly serious and if there had been an accident the consequences would have been horrific.
The court was told the Crown was no longer pursuing the vehicle’s seizure as there was no evidence that the Polish company that Trzeciak worked for was aware of what he had been doing.
A second Polish driver who was also investigated by the DVSA, Kamil Nowaki, was given a four-month prison sentence and a six-month driving ban after pleading guilty to using a false instrument in court the following day
Two more drivers are due in court later this month and are facing similar charges.
By Michael Jewell