M&M Kerr, thought to be Scotland’s only haulier of hanging meat, has had its licence revoked after it altered the speed limiters of HGVs and compromised road safety.
The former Scottish haulier of the year, which holds an international operator licence authorising 20 lorries and 20 trailers, was found to have used diagnostics software to increase the fleet’s speed up to 60mph.
It was also identified that driver Craig Kerr, son of director and transport manager Michael Kerr, had driven for excessive periods without a card inserted and had also been relying on another driver’s card.
At an Edinburgh public inquiry, traffic commissioner Claire Gilmore heard evidence that although the fleet’s speed limit increase was relatively small, when aggregated over many thousands of miles and multiple drivers, it would give a significant advantage to the operator and posed a risk to road safety.
“The motivation was to allow the vehicles to get to the destination quicker,” Kerr told the TC. “There was nothing open, no facilities for drivers due to Covid and it was really intended to help the drivers get to Dover or Calais a little bit quicker.”
Craig Kerr submitted a written statement in which he admitted using another driver’s card through which he created 15 false records and was able to drive excessive hours.
The TC said the driver “was extremely sorry and realised the gravity of all that he had done.”
“By law, the operator’s vehicles were required to have a speed limiter fitted and set to 90kph (56mph),” Gilmore added.
“The evidence is that Mr Kerr’s whole fleet was travelling significantly faster than that over a period of around 15 months.”
The TC also found positives in the case. Compliance and the MOT pass rate had improved by the time of the PI and the transport manager had acknowledged he could not continue in his position in the future.
She also said the company’s drivers spoke well of Kerr and he appeared to care about their welfare.
However, the company’s licence was revoked, with Kerr disqualified as transport manager for 12 months, but she stopped short of disqualifying him as the operator: “That leaves the door open for Mr Kerr or the operator company to apply again in future should he wish to do so,” Gilmore said.
Decisions relating to driver conduct hearings are to be issued separately.