‘Unconvincing and unreliable’ director disqualified

A Motherwell scaffolding operator has been kicked out of the haulage industry for four years after failing to put in place proper systems for managing its drivers, drivers’ hours or vehicle maintenance.

Following a Glasgow public inquiry (PI), Scotland traffic commissioner (TC) Claire Gilmore said T&M Contracts and sole director Michael Lally posed a significant risk to road safety.

She said it was more likely than not that the company had not had any adequate systems in place for downloading and analysing tachograph data, ensuring compliance with the working time directive, driver training, licence checking or maintenance forward-planning since it was granted a licence in 2018.

At that time, T&M Contracts’ application for a restricted licence authorising three vehicles and one trailer was considered at a PI following allegations that it had been operating without a licence.

No record of the former TC’s findings could be found, but the decision letter disclosed that the licence was eventually granted “with the severest warning short
of refusing the application”.

However, earlier this year a report into the operator by the DVSA landed on the TC’s desk, alleging that there were no proper systems in place despite a previous unsatisfactory investigation and assurances given by Lally that improvements would be made.

Evidence provided by the DVSA traffic examiner detailed how a roadside stop of one of T&M Contracts’ vehicles found that it had been driven on 16 occasions, some for considerable periods of time, without a card inserted.

The operator was found not to be locked into the tacho equipment and data had not been downloaded from it within the required 90 days.

Lally told the TC he did have systems in place to meet the undertakings; however, his business had been closed down for over a year due to Covid. He also said that if his licence was suspended or revoked it would mean he couldn’t transport scaffolding to sites and eight people’s jobs would be at risk.

But in her written decision, TC Gilmore said: “I found Mr Lally to be an unconvincing and unreliable witness.” The TC said there were few positives, but she did give the director some credit for attending the inquiry and for his frankness in accepting that he had failed to comply with the undertakings on his licence. She revoked the licence and disqualified Lally for four years.

Manager overlooked use of illegal truck

A transport manager who displayed “extremely lax transport management”, and allowed a lorry to be used on an operator’s licence when it was not specified, has been disqualified