Director of "grossly irresponsible" firm disqualified for three years

The director of a food wholesaling business that committed a number of drivers’ hours, overloading and Driver CPC offences has been disqualified from holding an O-licence for three years.

Ahmet Sezgin, director of Upper Edmonton, north London-based Denar, allowed HGVs to be driven by drivers who had no entitlement to drive them, and drivers who did not use tachograph cards and failed to meet weekly rest requirements.

Nick Denton, traffic commissioner (TC) for London and the South East, said the company’s approach to operating trucks had been grossly irresponsible and had put the safety of other road users at risk.

He revoked the company’s restricted O-licence last month.

An investigation into the own-account operator’s conduct was prompted earlier this year after a van was found to be overloaded by 78%.

DVSA evidence given at a public inquiry (PI) in September, which Denar did not attend, showed that it had operated a truck fitted with a digital tachograph since the O-licence was granted in September 2014, but had never downloaded data from the vehicle unit or driver cards.

There was no system in place for analysing or identifying drivers’ hours infringements, and a large number of drivers’ hours offences had been committed, many of them by Sezgin.

These included driving without a card, driving for more than four-and-a-half hours, and failing to take weekly rest.

Drivers were not given any form of training and neither Sezgin nor the company’s other driver, Ali Olmez, had completed, nor heard of, the Driver CPC qualification.

There was no driver defect reporting system in place and the company did not possess any driver defect report books.

Before the PI the company admitted that it was simply operating its 5-tonne HGV in the same way as its 3.5-tonne van, and said it wished to surrender its O-licence because operating HGVs was too burdensome.

The TC did not accept its application to surrender the licence.

In his written decision, issued last month, Denton said: “It is certain that the company has made no effort at all to abide by any of its undertakings or to apply any of the rules pertaining to the operation of HGVs. I have found nothing positive to weigh in the balance.”

Denton said he was not persuaded by the firm’s statement that it did not realise how onerous operating HGVs would be.

“The very fact that the company needed to apply for an operator’s licence and sign up to a number of undertakings should have been ample indication that more onerous requirements applied to the operation of vehicles more than 3.5 tonnes.”

Denton said it was necessary to disqualify Sezgin for three years “to mark the seriousness of embarking on HGV operations without any thought at all as to what this involved and without at any stage in the two-year life of the licence attempting to find out”.

TC puts firm's operating dream to sleep

A bed firm that demonstrated not even the slightest understanding of what is required to operate goods vehicles has been refused a restricted O-licence.

North East traffic commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney said Batley, West Yorkshire-based Dream Therapy was unfit to operate HGVs because its sole director seemed unaware of many of an operator’s responsibilities.

At a public inquiry in Leeds this month, director Hamza Ali Areshad was unable to tell the TC what a Driver CPC was or what the letters stood for.

He was also unfamiliar with the company’s O-licence application, and said it was applying for one vehicle and not the three it had advertised.

It emerged that Areshad had links to Dreamers (GB), a business that had its O-licence revoked in 2013, and its director Masood Bostan. Areshad claimed he was not related to the business, but later admitted that Bostan was his father.

TC Rooney said: “The point that is of greatest concern is that Mr Areshad persisted that there were no links until that position became untenable. Operator licensing relies on trust and trust requires openness and co-operation.”

The TC said Areshad would be welcome to apply for an O-licence again but would need to demonstrate that he had attended relevant training on HGV operation.