Driver stripped of HGV and Operator licences after driving without CPC and failing to stop for roadside checks

 

A truck driver has had his restricted O-licence revoked and has been disqualified as an operator for five years after driving without a CPC qualification and for twice failing to stop for a roadside check. His HGV licence has also been revoked for 12 months.

Neil Colin French, trading as WBS Autos, appeared before West Midlands TC Nick Denton at a public inquiry (PI) in Birmingham on 7 February.

The PI heard that in May 2016 French was initially stopped by the roadside and found to be driving without a CPC. Despite the fact that he claimed at the time to have one it was found that he had only completed seven of the necessary 35 hours of training.

After that stop he completed the training but as a result of driving without one and attempting to mislead the authorities his HGV driving entitlement was suspended by the TC for four weeks.

However, it emerged at last month’s PI that French was also in possession of an O-licence for one vehicle, of which Denton had not been aware at the time he imposed his initial suspension for the CPC offence.

Furthermore, during his period of suspension he twice failed to stop when the DVSA tried to stop him again. At one point he followed a DVSA vehicle nearly on to a slip road but swerved back onto the motorway at the last minute and evaded the check.

When contacted by phone later that day by the DVSA French said he had not been driving and had sold the vehicle.

Subsequently he was called to the PI, where he said that he had sold his truck to one “Billy Joe”, a traveller who had paid in cash.

The PI heard that the traveller must have then sold the truck to John Phillips, the step brother-in-law of French, who was the current registered owner.

The TC said in his written decision that it was clear that French had driven the vehicle for a considerable period of time without a CPC when required to have one. The TC added that he had concluded that French was an unreliable witness and that he was “making it up as he goes along”.
Denton added that on the balance of probability French was the driver of the vehicle in question when he was suspended and failed to stop.

The TC added: “The driver of the vehicle deliberately evaded the DVSA stop twice in a matter of minutes. It is clear that the driver had strong reasons for not wanting to be checked: Mr French had very strong reasons for wanting to evade a check – he was suspended from driving vehicles of more than 7.5-tonnes.

“Mr French has shown in almost every aspect of this inquiry (holding a driver CPC; date of transferring the registered keepership; the person to whom it was transferred; the reason for not despecifying the vehicle sooner) that his word cannot be trusted.”