Manager overlooked use of illegal truck

Disqualified

A transport manager who displayed “extremely lax transport management”, and allowed a lorry to be used on an operator’s licence when it was not specified, has been disqualified.

Following a public inquiry (PI) in the Western Traffic Area, traffic commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney said John Humphrey should be removed from the industry for a year after he admitted knowing that a fourth truck was being used on a licence owned by soil transport operator Alsoils, which only had authorisation for three vehicles.

The PI heard how director Matthew Hill panicked when the DVSA questioned him about the use of the 7.5-tonner during a site visit and claimed it had just been sold and the operator was not using it.

Hill told the TC he had wanted to cover for his father, fellow director Stephen Hill, but he understood the additional trouble he had caused by lying to the examiner.

The DVSA’s visit also found brake performance testing was not part of the operator’s maintenance and there were also over 1,000 missing kilometres on one vehicle.

Humphrey explained that the firm had taken on an extra driver when it was under pressure and that this driver had been unable to provide evidence of his driving entitlements.

In his decision, the TC said: “Why would a driver not provide a national insurance number to allow their licence to be checked? “Whether through naivety or for business convenience, a driver drove who may not have had an entitlement to do so.

“No check was made that the driver card had been reported lost or stolen, so the concession to drive whilst a new card is issued was not engaged.”

Stephen Hill told the PI he was personally responsible for the illegal truck’s use for six months and he was ashamed by what had happened as he was not a person who got into trouble.

However, TC Rooney also noted the positives in the case, including the fact that Alsoils immediately commenced brake testing following the DVSA visit and the other shortcomings appeared to have been addressed effectively.

But he also said Humphrey had failed to continuously and effectively manage the transport operation and so he disqualified him and curtailed the licence to two vehicles for 12 months.