An international operator has had its licence revoked after the traffic commissioner struggled to describe “just how far below the required standards” its maintenance regime was. Stets Logistics appeared before south eastern and metropolitan TC Sarah Bell after a DVSA desk based assessment, followed by a more in-depth investigation, uncovered significant failings.
PMI intervals were exceeded by up to 17 weeks and PMIs were also incomplete; the driver walkaround check system appeared inadequate and there was no obvious auditing taking place.
Prior to the Eastbourne PI taking place, TC Bell requested another assessment to be undertaken to see whether drivers’ hours, tachograph, working time directive and other similar systems were robust. She said the outcome of that assessment was disappointing, with driver licences only checked on first employment and no evidence of any driver training.
Bell said she did not find sole director Thulisiwe Ncube to be a credible or compelling witness and was particularly concerned that her evidence in relation to the use of more vehicles than authorised materially changed after a comfort break.
There were also concerns about the role played by Charles Moyo, whose name appeared in emails sent to the licensing office by the operator. Ncube originally claimed Moyo had no role in her business and his name only appeared because the business email had been set up via his account. However, in her oral evidence, Ncube admitted he was engaged full time in helping her run the business.
In her written decision, TC Bell said the operator had failed to produce evidence when required and when she did it demonstrated the systems were far from robust: “Indeed, the systems fall far below what is required of the modern operator licensing regime to ensure safety,” she said. “This is disappointing from an individual who clearly has a caring nature because she is a nurse. I simply do not understand her conflicting approach to the wellbeing of individuals. This may be because in reality it is Mr Moyo’s business. I simply do not have sufficient credible evidence to make a decision one way or the other.”
The TC revoked the licence and ruled that the repute of former transport manager Danny Chalmers was severely tarnished but not lost.