West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton has put his decision on whether to grant a potato merchant an O-licence on hold, after it was found to have borrowed a licence from another business.
Gary Williams Potato Supplies operated HGVs under the guise of an O-licence held by David Harper, who trades as Weston Garage, for more than 18 months. During this time, even though the potato firm was the “de facto” operator of two vehicles, it exercised no control over drivers’ hours compliance and allowed large gaps in vehicle maintenance records to occur.
The company’s lack of control over drivers’ hours monitoring led one driver to commit “numerous and serious infringements”.
Williams told the TC that he thought the arrangement was acceptable on a temporary basis.
David Harper was disqualified from holding an O-licence for three months from 21 November to 21 February. The TC also found he had been operating with a transport manager in name only, as the nominated transport manager had no contract, received no remuneration and performed no duties.
Harper, who directly operated one vehicle, failed to carry out any downloads of drivers’ digital tachograph cards or vehicle units until three weeks before the public inquiry last month.
Denton said it was astonishing that David Harper, a vehicle maintenance provider, had large gaps in maintenance records.
The TC said: “The extent of the non-compliance – licence lending, extended operation without a transport manager and wholesale failure to monitor drivers’ hours – is sufficient to warrant a period of disqualification from holding a licence.”
Oswestry-based Gary Williams Potato Supplies, which applied for a restricted O-licence, will need to nominate a transport manager by 22 December before the TC considers its application, despite restricted O-licence holders not usually being required to do so. Williams must also attend an O-licence management course.
“In any event, I will not approve the application until 1 January 2018, as a mark of my dissatisfaction with the applicant’s failure to comply with the laws relating to the operation of HGVs,” said Denton.
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