First offence leads to suspension
A scaffolding firm with a host of compliance issues was saved from having its licence revoked after taking remedial action.
Another Level Scaffolding escaped with a two-week suspension at a PI in Cambridge, although TC Richard Turfitt said the Basildon operator’s fitness to operate had been “severely tarnished” by its actions following a DVSA roadside stop in 2018.
It was discovered that the vehicle’s tachograph had not been downloaded since the previous year. Instances of driving without a driver card were also identified.
A follow-up visit took place in August 2019, where a DVSA traffic examiner met with director John Mann and found that downloads were not taking place, no working time records were available, two vehicles were missing ministry plating certificates and two V5 documents had incorrect details. Shortcomings were still identified at a second site visit in November 2019.
The operator said instances of drivers forgetting to insert their cards had been eradicated, although the TC said there was still no effective disciplinary process in place.
However, despite being satisfied that O-licence breaches had occurred, the TC said this was a first PI and Covid-19 restrictions may have prevented some action.
Undertakings were added to the licence.
Director given time to prove his worth
A company director has been given six months to produce an audit that demonstrates his firm’s full compliance – or its application for 12 lorries will be rejected.
Following a Cambridge public inquiry, Rutland Haulage was issued with interim authority, but the traffic commissioner remained unsatisfied that director Patrick Donaghy was fit for a full operator licence.
Donaghy was formerly director of Rutland Haulage under a standard international licence, but this had been revoked and he was disqualified for two years in 2017.
Donaghy told TC Richard Turfitt that evidence put before the deputy traffic commissioner that time had not been true.
He said tyre checks were undertaken, preventative inspections took place and he never prevented transport managers from doing anything that was required.
Donaghy’s claims meant the TC had to decide which version of events he believed and in a written decision, he said he did not find Donaghy’s evidence credible.
He said the operator had not provided convincing evidence to dispute claims by former transport managers and that “where fault was undeniable, Mr Donaghy attempted to shift the blame away to others.”
He continued: “The reality was that no-one was overseeing the transport operations properly and no tachograph analysis was being undertaken, maintenance inspections were neither timely nor effective and the driver walk around checks were not fully effective.”
However, the TC noted that the applicant was now a member of a recognised trade association, which would undertake tacho analysis.
Infringements would be discussed with drivers and follow-up training or disciplinary action carried out.
In addition, Rutland Haulage now had a contract with an external maintenance provider, with a commitment to rolling road brake tests at every preventative maintenance inspection.
But concerned that Donaghy had overridden the instructions of CPC holders in the past, the TC concluded: “I was persuaded to grant interim authority for no longer than six months. In that time the operator must lodge a copy of that audit. That must confirm full compliance before I will allow substantive grant.”