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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First UK Iveco Hi-Traction tipper to Brocks

Essex excavation specialist Brocks Haulage has become the first UK operator to specify tippers equipped with Iveco’s Hi-Traction hydraulic auxiliary front axle-drive system.

The system is fitted to nine new Stralis X-Way 8x4 tippers. The Boweld-bodied trucks are the first Ivecos to join Brocks’ 55-strong fleet, which is based at Purfleet and operates on construction sites across the south-east.

The family firm chose the Ivecos after a week of intensive testing of a demonstrator by one of its most experienced drivers. Brocks operations director Anthony Brown said: “Our driver, who has driven a variety of tippers over his 20 years’ employment with us, was very impressed. We’re now putting all nine through their paces and performance both on- and off-road has been excellent.
“We’ve used other manufacturers in the past, but the Stralis X-Way is now a major consideration for our future replacements.” Another key factor in the decision was the delivery lead time of just eight weeks.

The Hi-Traction system, specified alongside the OFF chassis option that provides an approach angle in excess of 25 degrees, uses hydraulic hub motors powered by the truck’s PTO. When engaged, it automatically activates drive on the front axle when the rear wheels lose traction. It also has a start boost function, which provides drive to the front axle at up to 6kph regardless of rear grip.

The trucks also feature the Cursor 11 420 engine driving through the latest Hi-Matic transmission, and Hi-Cruise  adaptive cruise control. Being a CLOCS champion and FORS silver member, Brocks has specified a blind spot passenger door window, 360-degree cameras, audible left-turn warning and side under-run protection. Servicing, under a five-year IVECO Elements R&M contract will be provided by local dealer Acorn Trucks at West Thurrock.

  • Tip-ex Tank-ex, taking place in Harrogate from 30 May - 1 June 2019 is the UK's must-attend event for operators in the dry bulk and liquid tanker sectors. You can register free on the website.