End of the road for super car transporter

A restricted licence holder that used lorries to transport ‘super cars’ to race tracks for event experiences has had its licence revoked.

SCDD appeared before the traffic commissioner for the North West, Simon Evans (pictured), after one of its vehicles was stopped in April 2018 and the driver was found not to have the necessary entitlement for its use that day. It was also discovered that the tachograph had not been downloaded for more than four years, albeit it transpired the lorry was only added to the licence in February 2018.

The DVSA said the vehicle and trailer combination was in excess of 750kg and therefore should have been holding a full C+E driving licence. Although the driver held provisional entitlement, he was not displaying L plates nor was he accompanied by a qualified driver.

Director Adam Hayes told the PI the offence was committed in error and disputed the finding that the trailer was in excess of 750kg. However, he accepted that the tachograph data had not been “locked in” using the company card and he accepted responsibility for failing to notify a change in directorship earlier in the year.

Further investigation found issues over SCDD’s financial standing. Papers served also highlighted Hayes’ involvement with a second company called Hayes Freight, which lost its licence in May 2018. At the time Hayes was found to have lost his repute as a transport manager: “Through his acts and omissions, he had facilitated the continuation of a substantial operator’s licence when there had been no professional competence,” explained the TC. “He had pretended to be the transport manager when he was not.”

As a result, he was also disqualified for five years - something that wasn’t mentioned to the TC’s office with regards to SCDD’s fitness to hold a licence.

TC Evans said there were “real concerns” about the fitness and serviceability of SCDD’s vehicles, the quality of the driver defect reporting arrangements and the preventative maintenance regime.

Hayes said he’d made some “awful decisions” but that his actions were out of character and nothing had been done with a view to gain or wilfully mislead.

However, the TC said he couldn’t be satisfied the operator would be compliant in the future, because he couldn’t trust the director: “I cannot agree that Adam Hayes was acting other than deliberately and with intent to mislead, when the DVSA began its inquiries into Hayes Freight. The assurances given by him about future arrangements are hollow in the light of the findings in respect of his repute as a TM.”

He added that he was shocked that SDCC’s other director Adam Trapp hadn’t appeared at PI and that there were “repeated examples of failure to notify material changes, serious concerns about the management of drivers, driver defect reporting arrangements and the maintenance of vehicles. Financial standing is not met.”

He concluded that the licence must be revoked: “I understand that the vehicles are not currently being operated. The order will take effect immediately.”

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Lack of funds costs Fort William haulier O-licence

Interrupter devices

A Fort William haulage firm has had its O-licence revoked after it failed to provide evidence of continuing financial standing or adequate arrangements to employ a transport manager during a period of grace.

Following a public inquiry in Inverness in October 2018, MacDiarmid Haulage was given until 9 January to find a new transport manager after TC Joan Aitken (pictured) disqualified the existing one, as well as demonstrate it had enough finances to operate five HGVs.

The PI was originally called after a DVSA vehicle examiner passed an adverse report to the TC’s office. One of the company’s trailers had been issued with an S marked immediate prohibition after nine immediate defects were discovered at the roadside in March 2018. A few days later, an immediate variation prohibition for a tyre failure was issued by the examiner on the same trailer, followed by a further variation prohibition being imposed for an inoperative service brake.

A maintenance investigation at the operator’s premises revealed decelerometer tests not recorded; no three monthly roller brake tests; a high MOT fail rate and a high prohibition rate, among other deficiencies. The vehicle examiner formed the view that transport manager Graham Cooper did not have effective and continuous management of the transport activities and was relying on director Donald MacDiarmid.

Ahead of the PI, Cooper wrote to the TCs’ office in which he said he took full responsibility for the shortcomings and that he would resign.

Despite the TC pointing out that getting evidence from MacDiarmid was like “pulling teeth” and disqualifying Cooper permanently, she gave the company director until 9 January to nominate a new transport manager and show evidence of continuing financial standing, or else the licence would be revoked.

In a follow-up written decision, TC Aitken said MacDiarmid had rung and emailed the Edinburgh caseworker with a copy of his sister’s CPC on the final deadline day. There was no additional documentation to show that she had accepted the appointment of transport manager or what hours she would be working. MacDiarmid also emailed bank statements which did not show continuing financial standing.

On 10 January, MacDiarmid emailed a bank statement showing a deposit that day of £20,000 from a John MacDiarmid, which could cover financial standing for the future if retained, but by this point the TC had lost her patience. She revoked the licence with effect from 23.59 on 15 February, but held back from making any orders of disqualification.

She wrote: “I have referred myself to the decision I took following the Public Inquiry on 16 October 2018 and the lack of engagement I found in Mr MacDiarmid. I gave him a chance and a reasonable deadline given what he told me he expected to do to remedy the deficiencies in the licence. He has failed to meet that deadline and what he has produced goes only so far to meet the mandatory requirements for an operator licence.

“I have to take my own orders seriously. They cannot be idle threats,” she added.

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