An Inverness-based sole trader has been refused an O-licence for his recycling business after he operated trucks without permission.
Evidence presented at a public inquiry (PI) by the DVSA in September showed that there had been three instances where trucks operated by Christopher Proudfoot, who trades as Highland Tyre Disposals, had been stopped on the A9 without a valid O-licence.
Scotland’s traffic commissioner (TC) Joan Aitken (pictured) found Proudfoot had not been honest at the PI and distanced himself from the unlawful operation.
He claimed that driver Simon Taylor had on one occasion been instructed to use two box vans rather than an HGV to carry out tyre collections on the day that a truck was pulled over in August 2015, but he had allegedly picked up the wrong set of keys.
Taylor had also failed to produce a Driver Qualification Card or analogue tachographs for the previous 28 days, and he was issued with a prohibition for the drivers’ hours offence.
A truck driven by Taylor was again stopped in September 2016 and impounded by the DVSA. It had a full load of used tyres.
Taylor had not been using a digital driver’s card and said Proudfoot had told him he did not need to use one.
Proudfoot claimed he had never instructed Taylor to operate a vehicle over 3.5-tonne GVW on the public road and said he had been disciplined. However, Aitken did not accept Proudfoot’s claims as accurate.
“When Mr Proudfoot received word that the vehicle was stopped, he first thought ‘was it loaded?’ as if he was thinking ‘have we been caught out?’ That struck me as significant,” said the TC in her written decision last month.
The same vehicle had on another occasion been stopped without an O-licence in May 2016 and it was issued with a delayed prohibition for an exhaust system defect. DVSA examiners took photographs of the truck and found it typical of a vehicle being used for transporting tyres.
Proudfoot had also been called to the PI to determine his fitness to hold a restricted O-licence. When he applied to operate two vehicles in October 2015, he disclosed numerous convictions that included embezzlement and speeding in a private car.
Supplied bank statements failed to demonstrate that the business had the required financial standing.
However, the TC said it was positive that the business had two proposed operating centres that appeared “very adequate” and had the necessary systems to ensure vehicle roadworthiness, despite the prohibitions that had been issued.
The TC said: “I have decided that I must refuse this application given that I am not satisfied as to his fitness. It will be for Mr Proudfoot to show that he can conduct his business lawfully before he can re-apply for a licence.
“Had he not operated unlawfully and had he not distanced himself from admitting such, then likely my decision on his fitness could have been different.”