Dangerous driver's application denied

Scotland’s traffic commissioner (TC) has refused an application to double a haulier’s vehicle authorisation after hearing evidence of how one of its vehicle’s wheels became detached and struck a BMW.

According to the TC, in September 2017 a female driver of a BMW in the Newbridge area narrowly missed serious injury – or worse – when the operator’s lorry wheel hit her car.

Aitken said it was clear the reason for the wheel loss was “insufficient husbandry of the wheel such that paint and debris came to affect the wheel clamping force”.

TC Joan Aitken also heard how Whyte Crane Hire’s director Laurence Whyte had been convicted of dangerous driving leading to his disqualification from driving until 2020.

The Aberdeenshire haulage company was also involved in a crash 11 years ago that led to the deaths of a mother and her two young daughters after hydraulic oil had leaked from one of the company’s cranes and led to Ann Copeland’s car skidding on the A92.

At the public inquiry to discuss doubling the firm’s licence from five to 10 lorries and seven to 15 trailers, Aitken said she was concerned by Whyte’s attitude to road safety and that someone in his position had received a dangerous driving conviction.

Whyte had been joined by two additional directors, who Aitken thought could provide the element of trust that was needed between the TC and the operator and so she stopped short of revoking its licence. But she added that she wasn’t fully reassured and therefore regulatory action was required.

“I have concluded that the means by which I can put down a very severe marker to this operator is by denying expansion,” she said.

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'Dog destroyed my DVSA drivers' hours letter' says operator

An operator who racked up a “catalogue of incidents of concern” , including a 100% vehicle prohibition rate and using vehicles not covered by an MoT, has had its licence revoked and been disqualified.

Simon Evans, traffic commissioner (TC) for the North West of England (pictured), said severe regulatory action was justified against sole trader Nathan Jones.

Jones ran one vehicle and three trailers and had applied to increase his authorisation to three HGVs and three trailers, but he was called to a public inquiry (PI) amid allegations of using more vehicles on his licence than were permitted.

A vehicle examiner stopped one of Jones’ vehicles at another operator’s yard and it received an immediate prohibition for a seriously under-inflated tyre.

The trailer was also given an immediate S-marked prohibition for a tyre worn far beyond the legal limit. It then was discovered that neither the vehicle nor the trailer had a current MoT test in force. In addition the vehicle was not listed on Jones’ O-licence, something he described as an “oversight” .

Furthermore, he had no driver card and he had wrongly believed a printout at the end of the day would suffice instead. Two months later another encounter with DVSA officers found that the driver qualification card being used had expired. The vehicle being driven attracted prohibitions for damaged brake discs and it was also discovered that once again it had not been specified on the licence.

A second vehicle stopped by the DVSA on the same day and belonging to Jones displayed no disc and attracted an immediate S-marked prohibition for having a seriously under-inflated tyre. A letter was issued to Jones from the DVSA demanding drivers’ hours and tachograph records, but he denied ever receiving it and claimed his dog could have destroyed it.

At the PI, Jones said he’d taken steps to demonstrate compliance, but the TC concluded that he could not be trusted to operate the licence compliantly.

In a written decision, TC Evans said: “I conclude that the argument that matters have improved is not substantiated on the evidence. There has been an abject failure to provide any corroboration that this is the case, or to provide the majority of the information required for the hearing. Bearing in mind the licence has been in force for only 10 months, there has been a substantial number of prohibitions and fixed penalties. Management control has been ineffective across a full range of issues – maintenance, compliance systems, and drivers’ hours.”

The operator was disqualified for 30 months.

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