Operator given benefit of doubt fails to deliver

An operator given the benefit of the doubt by a traffic commissioner (TC) has now had its licence revoked after it failed to comply with the undertakings given at a previous public inquiry (PI).

TC Nick Denton (pictured) said it was “entirely merited” to put RM Commercials out of business as an operator of HGVs and he also disqualified director Richard Morrin for two years.

The company appeared before the TC in May 2018 and had its licence suspended for 28 days after it used a vehicle fitted with an AdBlue emulator, had been without a transport manager for most of its life and had virtually no systems in place for monitoring drivers’ hours.

Denton said he found Morrin had “an insouciant and over-confident” approach at the PI but concluded that he could just about trust him to comply in the future. He also ordered the company to have an independent audit of compliance carried out.

However, the audit did not take place until April, so the TC recalled RM Commercials to a second PI, having been unimpressed with the explanation that it was down to “operational delays within our own office.”

In the meantime, one of its vehicles was pulled over and given a delayed prohibition for excessively corroded brake discs and its trailer was issued with an immediate prohibition for a seriously deflated tyre.

In addition, the Environment Agency wrote to the TC reporting that RM Commercials had been leasing vehicles to a company under investigation for waste offences.

Morrin refused to give Agency officers details about which vehicles were being leased or his business association with the company.

At the second PI, Morrin accepted he should have given the audit greater priority but said he was serious about compliance. He added that he had now replied to the Environment Agency’s request for information, but the TC said Morrin’s track record on delivering on his promises was “poor”.

In a written decision, Denton said he would have revoked the licence at the first PI had he known Morrin would fail to arrange the audit by the deadline and fail to co-operate with the Environment Agency.

“I can no longer have confidence in any statement of intent the company, and Richard Morrin in particular, might make,” he added.

  • Why not register for our Compliance Bulletin to receive the latest legal and fleet management advice fortnightly? Sign up free now

Absolute decision to revoke O-licence upheld

O-licence

An appeal against a decision to revoke a haulier’s licence, on the grounds that it wasn’t told why it was being revoked and was disproportionate, has been dismissed by the upper tribunal.

The TC had written several times to three different addresses warning Absolute Business Services (Scotland) that its licence would be revoked unless it applied to add a replacement transport manager. This did not happen and the TC revoked the licence, prompting an application by Absolute for a stay of the decision until an upper tribunal hearing was heard. This was reluctantly granted, however the tribunal agreed with the TC’s decision and dismissed the appeal.

Judge Anna Poole QC stated: “The TC did not behave in a disproportionate manner.”

  • Why not register for our Compliance Bulletin to receive the latest legal and fleet management advice fortnightly? Sign up free now