O-licence revoked after 'serious breach of trust'

A director and transport manager has escaped with a warning over her repute after she allowed unauthorised use of her licence by disqualified directors. However, the licence of Paramount Transport Consultants was revoked following a public inquiry (PI) in Eastbourne before deputy traffic commissioner Anthony Seculer.

Gurpreet Kaur Bhatia appeared at the PI after it was discovered that a driver of one of the trucks specified on her licence had previously been disqualified and a second truck had links to a licence that had been revoked and its director also disqualified.

Bhatia did not dispute the evidence and admitted that she “succumbed to pressure” from the family of Rajwant Bath, who was disqualified for a year in 2015.

Bath wanted to use Bhatia’s licence to allow transport activities to be undertaken by the disqualified directors.

In his written decision, Seculer acknowledged that the unauthorised use was for a relatively short period of time, Bhatia was inexperienced and had been under pressure to agree to the arrangement and she had made a full admission at the PI.

“Allowing unauthorised use is a serious breach of the trust placed in operators and it is conceded that the repute of the operator company must be forfeit on the facts. I revoke the operator’s licence with immediate effect.”

Bhatia retained her personal repute as a director and transport manager. “The warning I place against her repute and professional competence as a transport manager is intended to be meaningful and a final chance,” Seculer added.

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Tachograph card misuse leads to loss of licence

A haulier’s O-licence has been revoked and its director disqualified after a driver used his employer’s tachograph card to drive for a “truly shocking” period.

A public inquiry (PI) into Sahota Transport Services was called after a traffic examiner stopped one of its vehicles and found the driver’s tachograph card photograph did not resemble the driver.

Despite a claim by the driver he was Daljit Singh Sahota, as shown on the card, the examiner followed up the roadside stop with a site visit in July 2018. He met with Sahota, who was the company’s director and transport manager, who insisted he had been the driver.

The interview was then suspended on advice from Sahota’s solicitor. Six weeks later the solicitor contacted the traffic examiner to say the driver had in fact been Amrinder Singh Mann.

Subsequent analysis of the card showed that by using it in conjunction with Sahota’s card, Mann had exceeded the maximum permitted daily driving time by 44 minutes and the maximum permitted duty time by more than seven hours. Mann had then taken a daily rest period of just three and a half hours – instead of the legal minimum of nine hours. On another occasion, the driver had exceeded the maximum permitted daily driving time by three hours and 
46 minutes.

At a PI in Birmingham, the traffic examiner said his roadside interview of Mann was punctuated by pauses while the driver was on the phone, as though he was being fed the answers.

For the company, Philip Brown accepted that Mann had driven “considerably in excess of his maximum permitted hours” by driving for 23 hours and then starting work three and a half hours later, but that it was a one-off incident and Mann had mistakenly used Sahota’s card, which had been left in the truck.

However, in a written decision, traffic commissioner Nick Denton said he found it “inconceivable” the events as described to him had taken place. He said Sahota had deliberately tried to perpetuate the falsehood that it was he who had been driving and he could no longer trust the operator or transport manager to operate compliantly.

As a result, Sahota lost his good repute and was disqualified for five years, while the company’s licence was revoked.

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