A haulier who attempted to bypass a curtailment order by borrowing vehicles from other operators has been disqualified from operating trucks for two and a half years.
Isle of Islay-based sole trader Fraser Woodrow, who traded as Fraser Woodrow Haulage, disregarded the curtailment imposed by Scotland’s traffic commissioner (TC) Joan Aitken in 2014 following drivers’ hours offences and continued to operate in excess of the three vehicles authorised on his O-licence.
Islay Crab Exports and Tarbert Shellfish Company each allowed Woodrow to operate a vehicle under their O-licences during the three-month period of curtailment.
A public inquiry (PI) in January, which the TC made a decision on this month, was told that the DVSA found that up to six vehicles were used at one time. Woodrow said he felt that as these vehicles were shunting on the industrial estate they were based on, he was complying with the curtailment.
The PI also heard that Woodrow specified a vehicle that had already been sold on his O-licence, which the TC said was not what is expected of a trustworthy operator.
Drivers’ hours offences were also detected and there was a significant pattern of drivers making false records by not recording their full duty time. One had also used a digital card belonging to another person who was not employed by the business.
TC Aitken said: “There is a purpose to operating licensing and it is to protect from harm.
“Disregard for the drivers’ hours rules and allowing drivers to work with such disregard is unforgiveable given that these rules are there to protect us all from driver fatigue.”
Shortly before the PI took place Woodrow filed for bankruptcy, which resulted in the automatic revocation of the O-licence as he could no longer demonstrate financial standing.
The TC said in her written decision: “Mr Woodrow imperilled the licences of two other operators and landed them at this public inquiry with regulatory action taken against them or hindering the passage or granting of new O-licences.
“Lawful sub-contracting is the compliant response to a curtailment, or a hunkering down with less business for a while is another compliant response to a curtailment. Fraser Woodrow did not set out to comply; he circumvented. I continue to find it bizarre that he offered for suspension a vehicle he had sold.”
The TC also granted an O-licence to partnership Moyra Porter and Alasdair Porter following the hearing. Moyra Porter was formerly the transport manager at Woodrow’s business.
- This article was published in the 30 June issue of Commercial Motor. Why not subscribe to get 12 issues for £12?