Bridge strikes are a serious problem warns senior traffic commissioner

Bridge strikes by HGVs are a serious problem for the industry and are attracting unwanted attention from Westminster, according to senior TC Richard Turfitt (pictured).

He said the impact of a strike stretched much further than structural damage and was leading to frustration and anger among commuters. The senior TC also appeared to hint that moves to come down hard on companies for failing to route their vehicles correctly could be in the pipeline.

At the Woodfines road transport conference, Turfitt said: “We can joke about the stupidity of drivers but this is becoming a very serious problem for the industry. It’s attracting political attention. It’s creating a huge amount of problems for the public, with passengers sitting on trains for hours.”

He added: “You need to make sure route planning is done properly. Control the route, your operation and instruct your drivers properly. Otherwise I will take action.”

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'Untruthful' operator refused O-licence

A licence application has been refused by the traffic commissioner after the haulier was found to have operated a vehicle for almost two years without authorisation.

In addition, TC Nick Denton (pictured) said he was “very disappointed” that applicant Christopher Orchard had not told the truth at a public inquiry about using his HGV and couldn’t be confident he would comply with the law in future.

In November 2018 the DVSA stopped a lorry and found that the driver, Orchard, was also the operator, even though it was specified on someone else’s licence. Orchard then applied for a restricted licence for one vehicle and was told he could not operate HGVs while his application was being considered.

At a subsequent PI, the applicant told TC Denton that he had been “wholly ignorant” of the licensing rules and his vehicle had been parked up since the DVSA roadside stop. The TC then looked at his maintenance documents and found that Orchard’s vehicle had travelled 1,200km while his application was being considered.

In a written decision, the TC said: “Mr Orchard then admitted that he had taken the vehicle to some markets during that time, as it was the busy pre-Christmas period.”

He added: “I am very disappointed he chose to be untruthful about this further operation. I cannot be confident he will comply with the law in the future. He has shown he is prepared to choose business convenience over compliance with the law.”

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