Operator pays price of growing too fast

HMRC

A haulage operator that “grew too fast” has had its licence cut by two trucks for 14 days after a DVSA investigation found numerous vehicle defects, incomplete records and a lack of drivers’ hours monitoring.

Peterbrough-based Highway 86 Transport, which holds an international O-licence authorising 10 vehicles and 10 trailers, had sought an increase, which prompted a desk-based assessment by the enforcement agency.
This uncovered a range of issues relating to first use checks; driver defect reports and a lack of regular brake performance testing.

A follow up by a vehicle examiner a month later found vehicles with inoperative lights and insecure wheel nuts. In addition, inspection records for three HGVs were not available and the operator could not produce metered brake efficiency test records.

Highway 86 Transport, which began work in 2016 with one truck for two-shift, traction-only container transport out of Felixstowe, admitted that it grew too fast between 2017 and 2019 and the situation was made worse by a restructure of the business when container work reduced in 2019.

The company had no previous public inquiry history and it told the Cambridge PI that it had now made significant improvements and overhauled its procedures.

However, in a written decision, TC Richard Turfitt criticised director Marcin Marcinowski and transport manager Mateusz Marcinowski for being too slow to react to mounting problems:

“It should have dawned on them that the [tachograph] analysis was not being carried out and that missing mileage reports were not being produced,” he said. 

“Their lack of attention is to blame for the drivers’ hours infringements, including 21 instances of driving without a driver card.  Entirely reactive work has attempted to show that a number of offences occurred when the vehicle was off the road.”

The TC accepted the vehicle examiner’s point that a number of infringements arose from driving only a few minutes over the permitted time, but he said: “I am not attracted by representations based on percentages of failure. Drivers’ hours compliance has frequently been referred to by the upper tribunal as fundamental to road safety.” 

House crash driver gets six-month ban

Criminal convictions

An HGV driver who crashed into a house in Harlow, narrowly missing sleeping children, has been banned from the roads for six months. 

A police investigation following the incident in the early hours of 17 December last year found that Navarain Singh had flouted drivers’ hours rules and had incorrectly completed tachograph sheets.

The wall the lorry hit was next to where children were sleeping.

Appearing at Southend Magistrates’ Court Singh admitted one count of careless driving and seven counts of failing to use a tachograph recording sheet, and was given nine points on his licence.

He already had three points, so was banned for six months.
 

In addition, he was fined a total of £1,070, told to pay £100 costs and a £37 victim surcharge.

Adam Pipe, head of roads policing, said: “This collision could very easily have ended in tragedy – either to Navarain Singh himself or someone inside the building he hit.

“There are strict regulations which set out how many hours lorry drivers can drive over a set period of time and it is clear from our investigation that Singh had completely ignored these in the fortnight before the collision.

“It’s so important these regulations are adhered to because they’re there to keep people safe. 

“I hope this acts as a reminder to all drivers about the need to stick to the rules of the road.”