A haulier’s O-licence has been revoked and its director disqualified after a driver used his employer’s tachograph card to drive for a “truly shocking” period.
A public inquiry (PI) into Sahota Transport Services was called after a traffic examiner stopped one of its vehicles and found the driver’s tachograph card photograph did not resemble the driver.
Despite a claim by the driver he was Daljit Singh Sahota, as shown on the card, the examiner followed up the roadside stop with a site visit in July 2018. He met with Sahota, who was the company’s director and transport manager, who insisted he had been the driver.
The interview was then suspended on advice from Sahota’s solicitor. Six weeks later the solicitor contacted the traffic examiner to say the driver had in fact been Amrinder Singh Mann.
Subsequent analysis of the card showed that by using it in conjunction with Sahota’s card, Mann had exceeded the maximum permitted daily driving time by 44 minutes and the maximum permitted duty time by more than seven hours. Mann had then taken a daily rest period of just three and a half hours – instead of the legal minimum of nine hours. On another occasion, the driver had exceeded the maximum permitted daily driving time by three hours and 46 minutes.
At a PI in Birmingham, the traffic examiner said his roadside interview of Mann was punctuated by pauses while the driver was on the phone, as though he was being fed the answers.
For the company, Philip Brown accepted that Mann had driven “considerably in excess of his maximum permitted hours” by driving for 23 hours and then starting work three and a half hours later, but that it was a one-off incident and Mann had mistakenly used Sahota’s card, which had been left in the truck.
However, in a written decision, traffic commissioner Nick Denton said he found it “inconceivable” the events as described to him had taken place. He said Sahota had deliberately tried to perpetuate the falsehood that it was he who had been driving and he could no longer trust the operator or transport manager to operate compliantly.
As a result, Sahota lost his good repute and was disqualified for five years, while the company’s licence was revoked.
- Why not register for our Compliance Bulletin to receive the latest legal and fleet management advice fortnightly? Sign up free now