Operator’s response to DVSA probe “completely inadequate”

Chris Tindall
July 4, 2024

 

A haulage firm in Oldbury has lost its licence to run trucks and its transport manager disqualified after repeatedly failing to address serious shortcomings in its maintenance systems.

Traffic Commissioner Victoria Davies said TFL Transport and Warehousing’s director Mitchell Lester, who was also the company’s transport manager, had failed to exercise control over the business and said his response to a DVSA investigation was “completely inadequate”.

The haulier, which operated 12 HGVs and six trailers, had been identified by the enforcement agency as having inadequate maintenance systems, with safety inspection reports not properly completed, no method of brake performance tests being recorded, inadequate driver defect reports, ineffective load security arrangements and no system to monitor adblue usage.

Lester claimed the company could show “a vast improvement” within six months, but when the DVSA conducted a follow-up desk-based assessment, it found the same failures were still present.

There was also evidence that the operator fell far short of the required finances required to be running 12 lorries.

The operator and Lester appeared before the TC at a Birmingham public inquiry where the transport manager said he had not been able to implement the necessary changes identified by the DVSA because he had been too busy managing other aspects of the business.

Lester also admitted that he was unaware that a brake test must be carried out at each safety inspection and he accepted that his understanding of his duties as a transport manager was inadequate.

“Insufficient changes had been made to ensure compliance, despite the operator having been given an opportunity to get things right, not once but twice before these shortcomings were referred to office of the traffic commissioner,” Davies said.

“The operator also had a high prohibition rate, with a mechanical prohibition rate of 33.33%, which was significantly higher than the national average of 21.7%.

“The role of transport manager is a key one which he failed to perform effectively and continuously resulting in the compliance failures found,” she added.

“Those failures presented a clear risk to road safety.

Davies said she was satisfied Lester had failed to exercise continuous and effective control of the transport operation and so it was proportionate on the evidence before her for him to lose his repute. She disqualified him for 12 months.

About the Author

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Chris Tindall

Chris Tindall started writing for the haulage and logistics industry in 2002 and has covered a broad range of significant issues, including GPS jamming by criminals, platooning and Brexit.

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