Suspension after firm flouts drivers’ hours

HMRC

A Birmingham operator has had its O-licence suspended for 14 days after one of its drivers drove for more than 18 hours with the longest rest period being just more than two hours.

West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton said he was “shocked” by Chief Vehicle Rentals’ laid-back approach to the infringements and said that it could have resulted in catastrophic consequences.

The company appeared at a virtual public inquiry (PI) after the TC received a DVSA traffic examiner’s report based on a roadside stop by the police.

The report stated that officers discovered the driver had driven for five hours and 10 minutes without a break and without a tacho card.

This was followed by a two hour and nine minute break after which he proceeded to drive for more than 13 hours over a shift that lasted for 20 hours.

The tacho card was only inserted for three hours and 26 minutes during that time.

A follow-up visit to the Chief Vehicle Rentals’ premises by the DVSA found that the company was not receiving back analysis on its driver card data it was supplying to an outside company.

Director Shaun Cunningham told the TC that he thought the absence of analysis reports meant no problems had been identified.

He also said that the driver, who was stopped by police, had been given several days to complete the job and was under no pressure, but he had decided to try and complete the work in one go so he could return home early.

In a written decision, TC Denton said Cunningham had not been as well prepared for the PI as he had expected and he thought that the director was quick to blame a long-standing failure to obtain tacho analysis on a management restructuring exercise.

He said: “Analysis was not carried out over a considerable period of time. This resulted in drivers occasionally driving for significant periods of time without a card, disguising serious infringements and entirely undetected by the operator.” The TC said the shortcomings fell into the serious-to-moderate category, but as it was the operator’s first PI he decided to suspend the licence for 14 days, rather than 28 days.

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