The North East traffic commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney has refused to return an impounded HGV to an operator the DVSA believed had “flagged out”, finding that it had not conducted legal cabotage.
The Bulgarian-registered truck, operated by B&J Transport, was detained by the DVSA in April after the driver was unable to provide CMR notes for some deliveries it had made in the UK.
CMR notes are documents that all operators carrying goods for hire or reward internationally must possess.
The UK-based driver supplied tachograph charts and a valid community authorisation to the DVSA as requested, but could not provide any delivery documents other than the inward international CMR and the delivery note for the load the truck was carrying.
The examiner suspected he had made other deliveries because tachograph charts indicated other movements.
Operator Robert Sissons later provided the DVSA with copies of the CMR documents for the other journeys the driver had made, but they did not carry the required stamps and signatures.
The truck was stopped because the DVSA had dealt with B&J Transport in 2014 for non-payment of the HGV Road User Levy and cabotage issues.
On another occasion the agency had also issued a fixed penalty for drivers’ hours and cabotage offences to the driver of a B&J Transport vehicle.
A public inquiry (PI) was told that the truck had arrived in the UK on the weekend before it was stopped on 20 April.
Sissons said the tractor unit was used to recover a broken down vehicle the following day and the load was not delivered until Monday 18 April.
Sissons had attended a PI before. His former UK-based business, Adonia Freight, had its O-licence revoked in December 2014 and Sissons had been disqualified from holding an O-licence in the UK and European Union for a year.
The TC acknowledged that this disqualification had expired in December 2015, but Sissons had continued to hold an O-licence in Bulgaria.
He found that the journey was not legal cabotage because the CMR notes were not in the truck at the time it was stopped.
In his written decision he said: “This is not a case where the operator on this occasion had conducted more than three domestic journeys, if I accept that the vehicle’s use on the Sunday had been to recover a broken down truck. Nor had the vehicle been in the country more than seven days.
“The application turns on the documentation carried on the vehicle in line with the requirements.”
- This article was published in the 28 July issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe to get 12 issues for £12?