Swift response to compliance failings saves haulier’s licence

HSE

A Cornish operator that allowed its drivers to breach the working time directive to a “huge” extent has managed to retain its licence after its transport manager was disqualified.

Following a Bristol public inquiry (PI), traffic commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney said Radland Haulage’s transport manager, Gareth Wenmoth, claimed to have been unaware of the extent of the breaches and that this was “an indictment of his complete lack of continuous and effective management” and so he kicked him out of the industry for a year.

However, the company managed to hold on to its licence after swiftly dealing with its problems and compliance standards improved.

A vehicle stop by the DVSA in 2020 found that the lorry was specified on the sole trader licence of Brian Wenmoth, but the driver said he was working for both the sole trader and Radland Haulage.

A follow-up investigation uncovered evidence that HGV drivers were working for several different operators, all headed up by members of the Wenmoth family. Concerned at this apparent “pooling” of the licence authority, TC Rooney called the three operators to a PI.

Gareth’s solicitor, Mark Davies, told the TC that the licence situation was “a bit of a mess” and it was accepted that the lending of licence authority meant that the case fell into the serious category.

However, he also pointed out that the entities were all linked by family, which didn’t make it right, but that it was mitigation.

Davies also said that the extra work was not due to drivers pulling their cards and continuing driving; it was instead related to other duties going on in the workshop, or cleaning vehicles.

In his written decision, Rooney said Brian Wenmoth knowingly allowed his licence to be used by Radland Haulage for 18 months and the motivation was to allow
the haulier to supply transport for
a linked business.

“Drivers of Radland Haulage and Brian Wenmoth were allowed to work hugely excessive hours,” he said. “That would have been known to the employer, who was paying drivers for in excess of 60 hours a week on multiple occasions.

“The extent of the breach of the working time rules is huge,” he added.

The sole trader licence was revoked and a linked partnership business called Brian K Wenmoth & Partners had its licence curtailed to one vehicle indefinitely.

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