Loyalty to son costs operator his O-licence

Erith-based operator Joseph Jebb’s standard international O-licence for six vehicles will be revoked on 1 March after police officers caught his son driving one of his trucks without a licence. 

In a written decision following a public inquiry (PI) in Croydon last month, South East traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton (pictured) disqualified Jebb from holding an O-licence for five years from 1 March and disqualified him indefinitely as a transport manager.

Provisional licence

On 19 June 2018 in Erith, south-east London, police officers stopped one of Jebb’s vehicles, a 32-tonne tipper, that was carrying a load of hardcore. The driver fled the scene but was detained after a chase. He initially gave a false name, however officers eventually established his identity as Jebb’s son Nicholas, who was wanted on recall to prison.

Nicholas only had a provisional category B driving licence and was driving without insurance and a tachograph card. He was later sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for the offences.

Lack of tachograph

A police investigation showed that the vehicle stopped had been driven without a tachograph card on four other occasions in the 28 days before 19 June for periods ranging from 40 minutes to 1 hour 22 minutes.

Jebb told the TC that on 19 June his son had taken the vehicle, without his knowledge, to tip the hardcore, before it was inspected by a prospective purchaser as it was up for sale. He said he was unable to identify who had driven without a card on the four occasions in May and June, but that it was not his son.

In November 2013, Nicholas, who at the time was wanted for recall to prison after being found driving while disqualified two months earlier, had been a passenger in a vehicle driven by his father, which was stopped by police. However, Nicholas ran off before being detained by a pursuing officer.

Joseph later claimed to police that he did not know the identity of his passenger, saying he had picked him up from a travellers’ site. Also, Joseph had not fulfilled an undertaking, given at a PI in December 2014, that vehicles be given four roller-brake tests a year, in addition to the one at MoT.

Instead, vehicles had been given two such brake tests and there were no systems in place to prevent unauthorised drivers from driving his vehicles.

In addition, Joseph had not downloaded the tachograph unit of the stopped vehicle before its sale in early July 2018, which meant data on any driving without a card before May 2018 was unavailable to police or the inquiry.

Denton concluded that Nicholas had driven the vehicle stopped on 19 June without a tachograph card as well as on the four occasions in May and June, and that his father knew about it.

Correct entitlement

He said: “Although I have some sympathy with his loyalty to his son, the fact is that such loyalty should never override Mr Jebb’s responsibility to the wider public – to ensure that his vehicles are driven only by drivers holding the correct entitlement.

“I allowed Mr Jebb to retain his repute as a transport manager in 2014 after significant maintenance failings had been revealed, but this was in the expectation that he would fulfil his undertaking for vehicles to be roller-brake tested four times a year. In the event he did not.”

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