Driver was stopped with no HGV licence

A company whose driver was stopped by the DVSA and found not to have any entitlement to drive HGVs has had its licence revoked and its director disqualified for three years.

At a public inquiry (PI) in Birmingham, TC Nicholas Denton found GRA Haulier, which had a licence for five vehicles and five trailers, lacked financial standing, professional competence, an effective and safe establishment and had failed to ensure the lawful driving of vehicles.

The PI heard how one of its lorries was stopped in April 2018 and its driver, Kuljit Singh, had no driving entitlement. The company claimed it had only employed him that day, although it later transpired he had frequently driven for the operator using the name Gurpreet Singh Sekhon.

A DVSA investigation of tachograph charts led the agency to suspect that although they were in the names of several drivers, they had all been filled in by Kuljit Singh.

The agency said that director Rupinder Kaur had not answered any of its requests for information or attended an interview. The operator also failed to attend the PI, did not respond to the call-up letter and was unreachable on its phone numbers.

However, ex-transport manager Karanveer Singh did attend and produced a driving licence for Gurpreet Singh Sekhon, which had the same photograph as the revoked licence of Kuljit Singh, but a different date of birth.

Further investigations during the PI showed the DVLA held a different photo for Singh Sekhon than that provided by Karanveer Singh, leading the TC to believe the drivers were different people.

The TC said revocation was mandatory as there was no evidence of financial standing, professional competence and a stable establishment. He said the director had failed to engage with his office or the DVSA. “There are indications she may be a figurehead, with the true controlling minds operating from the shadows,” he added.

No adverse findings were made against Karanveer Singh, who resigned as transport manager after difficulties contacting the operator.

The TC said: “He is warned that he must take greater care in future to ensure the rigorous checking of driver entitlement.”

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