Turf supplier weeded out of industry for poor HGV maintenance

Ashleigh Wight
January 24, 2017


A Southampton-based turf supplier has been stripped of his restricted O-licence after persistently failing to improve vehicle maintenance systems.

Sole trader John Hinton, who trades as Hampshire Turf, had his permission to run HGVs taken away with immediate effect following a public inquiry (PI) on 12 January.

West of England traffic commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney said that the DVSA had noticed “little if any” sustained improvement in the operator’s vehicle maintenance systems during three investigations between 2009 and 2016. He said the maintenance issues were particularly significant as the vehicles Hinton operated ranged between seven and 19 years old.

Rooney said: “The road safety risk that arises from the persistently poor maintenance systems of these old and large vehicles means that I find it necessary to bring this licence to an end.”

An investigation by the DVSA in August found that safety inspections had been stretched to 12 weeks from the six-weeks Hinton had agreed to, and there were no records available over a 10-month period for one trailer.

Preventative maintenance inspection records were incorrectly completed and did not always show that faults had been rectified.

The investigation also found that there was insufficient evidence that driver defect reporting was taking place, and the safety inspection forward planner was not filled out satisfactorily.

A delayed prohibition had been issued for excessive brake actuator travel, and two prohibitions had been issued for insecure loads.

DVSA also discovered that the maintenance contractor Hinton had nominated on his O-licence was not being used, and the annual test failure rate for trailers was above the national average.

No financial evidence was provided by Hinton, who did not attend the PI.

The TC also noted that it was unclear which entity was operating the trucks. It appeared to the DVSA that another company, for which Hinton’s brother Peter was a director, had been operating the vehicles when examiners had visited the site.

He said: “The lack of attendance to answer the issues of concern raises questions over Mr John Hinton’s fitness to hold a licence.”

Rooney added that any application involving either John or Peter Hinton in future should be referred to the TC. 

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