Rogue operator booted out of industry

A sole trader who showed “a reckless disregard for the law” and operated more vehicles than his licence authorised has been disqualified indefinitely. Barry Bernhard Taylor also had his licence revoked following a Birmingham public inquiry, which heard how the Walsall operator operated four HGVs right from the start of his licence being issued in 2015, despite only having authorisation for two.

Taylor told traffic commissioner Nick Denton that it was “uneconomic to operate only two” and he had chosen not to put his vehicles in for preventative maintenance inspections for fear that the DVSA would find out. Nevertheless, a DVSA investigation in October 2020 discovered what was going on, as well as that the operator had no driver defect reporting system; drivers were not using tachograph cards or charts and a fifth vehicle was discovered in the yard fitted with false number plates.

Taylor accepted he had been wrong to act as he had done and asked the TC to give him three months to demonstrate that he could operate four HGVs compliantly. But the TC noted his reckless manner and his already chequered licence history.

In a written decision, Denton said: “A licence on which he was a director and transport manager was curtailed in 2010 for reasons which are similar to the shortcomings found by DVSA in their October 2020 visit. Upon his sole trader licence being granted in 2015 he proceeded immediately to operate double the number of vehicles permitted, with no preventative maintenance carried out on vehicles and in complete disregard of tachograph requirements. His past history and present wholesale non-compliance demonstrate conclusively that he absolutely cannot be trusted to comply in the future.”

The TC said he was only giving until 21 February for the revocation to take effect because of “the substantial threat to road safety posed by this wilfully non-compliant operator.” He said Taylor was “an incorrigible rogue operator and transport manager” and that he should not be allowed back into the industry in the future. “Because Mr Taylor has shown himself over the course of many years and two licences to be utterly uninterested in complying, I am making the disqualification indefinite,” he added.

Dead man’s tacho card used to flout driving rules

Tachograph

A sole trader who used her dead brother’s tachograph card to drive for longer than she was legally entitled to has had her licence revoked and been disqualified for three years.

Sherralin Ballard originally told the DVSA that her driver card was swapped for John Newland’s, but only because Newland had been the driver and had taken over after she had driven for more than nine hours. However, this story fell apart when the traffic examiner discovered that Newland was Ballard’s brother and had died six months earlier. The card was also found to have been used on two other occasions after Newland had died.

At a Birmingham public inquiry, Ballard admitted to TC Nick Denton that she had used her deceased brother’s card, but it was because she had been accompanied by another driver who had offered to continue driving and had then – unbeknownst to her – used Newland’s card.

In a written decision, Denton said he was unconvinced by this account and noted how substantially her story had changed from the initial DVSA interview. Ballard offered no evidence for the existence of the other driver and the TC found her new story difficult to accept. He said: “Whoever it was, it could not have been Mr Newland, who had died some six months previously.” Ballard’s HGV licence was also revoked for 12 months.