A transport manager in Kent has been disqualified for 18 months for repeatedly failing to demonstrate competence after appearing at three public inquiries. John Baker, deputy traffic commissioner, said Kelly Knight was “well intentioned” but had failed in terms of focus, assertiveness and organisational skills in her role as transport manager for two firms, BWC Haulage and D&D Recovery.
Knight and BWC director Ben Clifford appeared before the DTC at an Eastbourne PI after the transport manager had failed to respond to information required as part of a desk-based assessment. This assessment was prompted by the revocation of D&D’s licence following a PI in November 2021, during which the DVSA said vehicle units were not being downloaded and there was insufficient data to show drivers’ hours were being analysed and disciplinary action taken where required.
Knight had also appeared at a PI in 2019 in her role as transport manager for BWC, following which the licence was temporarily curtailed for failings including driver detectable faults being found at maintenance inspections with no follow-up action being taken. At the most recent hearing, Knight said she had not received the email requests for information relating to the desk-based assessment, although the enforcement agency had received confirmation that its emails had been delivered to the nominated address. The DTC raised concerns about the few number of walk round checks he had been sent, as well as the driver detectable defects being identified at maintenance inspections.
In his decision, Baker said the schedule of prohibitions issued since the 2019 PI was of particular concern and concluded that the case fell into the serious category: “I reach this conclusion because of the history, the lack of pro-activity by the operator and transport manager in achieving compliance and the risks to road safety of vehicles being used with defects such as serious tyre damage,” he said.
However, he added that he was prepared to give the operator a further opportunity to demonstrate that it could be trusted and so he stopped short of revoking its licence, instead marking its repute as severely tarnished and curtailing it to four vehicles 28 days. But he found Knight had lost her repute: “She will need to consider during the period of disqualification if she is really suited to transport management,” he said.