Truck down the pan for toilet supplier

Richard Turfitt

A portable toilet supplier whose work plummeted by 85% during the pandemic has had its licence temporarily curtailed following unsatisfactory traffic and vehicle examiner investigations.

D&P Luxury Toilets in High Wycombe was called to a Cambridge public inquiry after the DVSA uncovered problems, including a lack of tachograph records, incidences where vehicles were driven without driver cards, no evidence of a driver non-compliance system, and a lack of training and management of preventative maintenance inspections, with intervals exceeded.

The operator, which holds an O-licence for four trucks and supplies outside temporary toilet facilities to outdoor events, previously had its licence curtailed by one vehicle for five days in 2017 following an earlier maintenance investigation.

TC Richard Turfitt heard how driver cards and vehicle units were now regularly downloaded, a new contractor had been employed and all maintenance was now conducted by its maintenance provider.

Directors John Curtis and Theodore Terkelsen had also attended a hybrid O-licence awareness course.

The TC acknowledged this was the company’s second PI, but that there had been improvements and it had been under pressure due to a significant reduction in business. 

He cut the licence by one vehicle for 14 days and concluded: “Current trading conditions allow me to take deterrent action against the operator’s licence, without threatening its ability to meet immediate demand.”

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.”