Staffordshire haulier Clay Transport (Tamworth) has had its O-Licence revoked and its sole director has been disqualified for five years after a string of safety-related offences.
The firm, which holds a standard national licence for 12 vehicles, also saw its transport manager, Paul Martin Phillips lose his good repute.
A public inquiry heard the DVSA had found a number of serious shortcomings in the firm.
These included a large number of missing safety inspection sheets in 2016, suggesting that the six week inspection intervals were not being respected; 19 roadworthiness prohibitions since January 2016; a number of 4.5 hours offences for one driver; and a vehicle with a defective tachograph that was stopped again three weeks later with the same fault uncorrected.
Transport manager Phillips was also the maintenance contractor but could provide no explanation about why maintenance inspections had not taken place when they should. In May last year he resigned as transport manager.
At the inquiry Phillips said that he had never in practice exercised the functions of a transport manager for Clay Transport. He added that he had only agreed to put his name on the licence in 2013 as a favour to Stephen Clay while Clay took the CPC exam.
The TC found that Clay Transport lacked professional competence, had failed to fulfil its undertaking to keep vehicles fit and serviceable and lacked appropriate financial standing.
Stephen Clay was not present at the PI and had earlier claimed that he had not seen correspondence relating to the case because he was “illiterate and dyslexic and did not look at written correspondence”.
The TC said: “While he may be dyslexic and illiterate (although I note that he has corresponded with CLO Leeds in the past and took the transport manager exam earlier this month), he should in that case have made alternative arrangements to deal with correspondence from the regulatory authorities. He cannot simply ignore written correspondence.”
Denton added that the revocation of the O-Licence was for a number of reasons, including Clay Transport’s operation without a professional transport manager, the large number of prohibitions and “the fact that the operator has put vehicles back on the road while knowing they continued to be defective”.
Explaining the length of the director’s disqualification the TC said: “The nature of his [Stephen Clay’s] non-compliance has been serious, sustained and deliberate. I conclude that a disqualification period of five years is proportionate, appropriate and in line with the guidelines.”
Denton was less severe on Phillips. Despite concluding that his good repute as a transport manager was lost, the TC added: “I would normally impose at least a two year disqualification on a name-only transport manager whose neglect has permitted a highly non-compliant operator to continue in apparent legality.
"However, because Mr Phillips was honest at the inquiry about his failings and produced evidence against the operator which also went against his own performance as transport manager I am imposing a shorter disqualification period of 12 months.”