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.”

Director given time to prove his worth

O-licence

A company director has been given six months to produce an audit that demonstrates his firm’s full compliance – or its application for 12 lorries will be rejected.


Following a Cambridge public inquiry, Rutland Haulage was issued with interim authority, but the traffic commissioner remained unsatisfied that director Patrick Donaghy was fit for a full operator licence.


Donaghy was formerly director of Rutland Haulage under a standard international licence, but this had been revoked and he was disqualified for two years in 2017.


Donaghy told TC Richard Turfitt that evidence put before the deputy traffic commissioner that time had not been true.


He said tyre checks were undertaken, preventative inspections took place and he never prevented transport managers from doing anything that was required.


Donaghy’s claims meant the TC had to decide which version of events he believed and in a written decision, he said he did not find Donaghy’s evidence credible.


He said the operator had not provided convincing evidence to dispute claims by former transport managers and that “where fault was undeniable, Mr Donaghy attempted to shift the blame away to others.” 


He continued: “The reality was that no-one was overseeing the transport operations properly and no tachograph analysis was being undertaken, maintenance inspections were neither timely nor effective and the driver walk around checks were not fully effective.”


However, the TC noted that the applicant was now a member of a recognised trade association, which would undertake tacho analysis.
Infringements would be discussed with drivers and follow-up training or disciplinary action carried out.


In addition, Rutland Haulage now had a contract with an external maintenance provider, with a commitment to rolling road brake tests at every preventative maintenance inspection.


But concerned that Donaghy had overridden the instructions of CPC holders in the past, the TC concluded: “I was persuaded to grant interim authority for no longer than six months. In that time the operator must lodge a copy of that audit. That must confirm full compliance before I will allow substantive grant.”