O-licence suspension for ‘ill-managed’ firm

Commercial Motor
October 31, 2017


A Birmingham removals firm that a traffic commissioner (TC) described as “spectacularly ill-managed” has had its O-licence suspended for a month.

The number of vehicles The Grange Removal Company can operate from its Birch Road Industrial Estate site has also been curtailed from eight to three indefinitely.

Its transport manager, Marc Paul Byrne, has been disqualified for two years and lost his good repute.

West Midlands TC Nick Denton heard at a public inquiry (PI) in Birmingham that in December last year Byrne was stopped while driving without the necessary Driver CPC qualification. His tachograph chart showed he had been driving for five hours and 35 minutes without a qualifying break, that he had been using a chart for more than the permitted 24 hours, and he had been driving on dates for which there was no record.

In mitigation, Byrne told the inquiry the company that provided his HGV training had not told him that he needed a CPC.

Byrne accepted he had failed to analyse tachograph data and that some of it was missing.

The inquiry also heard that The Grange had been given an unsatisfactory marking by the DVSA after a maintenance investigation in July 2013.

In suspending the licence, Denton said he was allowing it to survive for three reasons. The first was that there had been no prohibitions since 2013; the second was that the MoT pass rate had improved; and the third was that family illnesses had badly affected the firm.

However, the TC said that he wanted a more effective transport manager in place and a review of drivers’ hours and maintenance requirements. Denton said: “Clearly, this has been a spectacularly ill managed company. Directors Laurence Byrne, Mary Byrne and Paul Byrne have all, in effect, been retired for several years and have taken no management role in the company, leaving this entirely to Marc Byrne, who since October 2015 has also been the transport manager - and has clearly failed to cope.

“Laurence Byrne was still a company director when he appeared at the inquiry on 25 September, but he had no idea of the issues and had made no effort in advance to find out what they were.

"On the positive side, there have been no prohibitions since 2013 and the MoT pass rate has improved. Because of this - and because I believe the chaos was exacerbated [although not caused] by the unfortunate family illnesses - I am allowing this licence to survive.

“But there needs to be someone much more effective in place as transport manager than Marc Byrne. There also needs to be a ground-up review of compliance with drivers’ hours and maintenance requirements,” Denton concluded.


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