Drink Danger

Drink-driving accidents have fallen dramatically since the 1970s but despite numerous advertising campaigns it is still a significant problem both within and without the commercial vehicle industry.

According to the Ministry of Justice in 2011, the most recent figures to hand, of 6,972 van and LGV drivers breath-tested in the UK after a road accident 187 people failed - this was up from the corresponding figures of 6,855 and 132 seen in 2010. So what exactly is the law and what can employers do to help make a difference?

The legal alcohol limit for drivers in the UK is 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath and 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. In most other European countries the limit is less, usually 50 milligrammes. The police can stop a driver at any time if they think they've been drinking, have committed a traffic offence or been involved in a road traffic accident.

According to the Department for Transport (DfT), 280 people died in 2011 from accidents involving drink-drivers. That should be enough to sober everyone's attitude to drink-driving.

Read the article by David Craik in the 18 July issue of Commercial Motor for more information on the subject.

Day at races is finish post for haulier

Eastern traffic commissioner Richard Turfitt has disqualified a Norwich haulier who, on the day his company’s vehicles were due to be inspected, left a note telling Vosa examiners he had gone to the Cheltenham Festival.

At a June public inquiry held in Cambridge, the TC was told that in March 2012, Vosa officers made an appointment to see Twinkle Transport director Brian Moon at the firm’s base on the Fifers Land Industrial Estate, but found the signed note stating “the Gold Cup calls”.

Vosa was investigating the company after the licence of Emmlease (Norwich) - with the same directors Brian and Leslie Moon - was revoked in January 2012. Trucks and trailers run by Twinkle Transport had picked up several prohibitions relating to brake, tyre and suspension defects and the firm had failed to produce tachographs for a Vosa vehicle examiner.

The PI was told that in February 2013 the company pleaded guilty to 14 offences at Norwich Magistrates’ Court, including several instances of failing to provide tachograph record sheets. One charge related to use of a false licence disc with the intention to deceive government inspectors. The firm was fined £2,300.

TC Turfitt said the company had been convicted of a “serious offence of using a document resembling an operator’s licence disc with the intention to deceive”. In his written decision, he disqualified Brian Moon from holding an O-licence for a year. He also disqualified him from acting as a transport manager with the proviso that he will have to retake his professional qualification before he can work in that role again. The TC also revoked the firm’s O-licence for 10 vehicles and 10 trailers, and disqualified Leslie Moon from holding an O-licence for one year.