Driver CPC trainer pleads guilty to fraud

A Driver CPC training instructor has pleaded guilty to committing fraud.

Mark Johnson changed his plea to guilty after a trial began at Exeter Crown Court on 2 February.

Johnson took almost £3,000 from 27 HGV drivers and delivered Driver CPC training in April and May 2014 but never uploaded their CPC training modules. Johnson had been a member of training consortium DriverCPC4U and had taken money from the drivers who expected the hours to be uploaded. Speaking to CM after the hearing, Lauren Andrew, who organises driver recruitment for waste operators, said she became suspicious when in July 2014 the Driver CPC training had not been officially logged with the DVSA.

She said Johnson had fobbed her off with excuses, but as the Driver CPC deadline approached she contacted the police and reported him. “Companies House showed he was not the director he purported to be,” she said.

Andrew told CM that some drivers who were in full employment had to find another course quickly.

She added: “I am glad we have got it resolved, the only thing is it could take a long time to pay off.”

Johnson is due to be sentenced on 26 February.

 

Crew braking system to halt runaway trucks

Vision Techniques has designed an emergency braking system for HGVs in response to the Glasgow refuse lorry tragedy that killed six people in December 2014.

The system enables a crew member on a refuse truck to bring a vehicle safely to a stop in the event the driver loses control by simply hitting a red button on the dashboard.

“We call it VT StopSafe,” said technical manager Nigel Armstrong. “The system reduces the vehicle’s speed while simultaneously bringing it to a controlled stop using the braking system.

“It is activated using a secure emergency button installed on the vehicle dashboard, allowing the crew to react to an emergency situation.”

It is available for any manufacturers’ trucks and is suitable for both new-build and retrofit options.

Blackburn-based Vision Techniques said it has been working on the idea since the fatal accident inquiry launched after the Glasgow incident made the case for councils to fit emergency braking systems to their fleets (CM 7 January).

The company has worked closely with Craven Council in Skipton, North Yorkshire, to help it better understand local authorities’ operations and requirements.

Trials carried out by the council have shown a refuse lorry can come to a controlled stop at speeds of 45mph when the emergency button is pressed.

Craven Council workshop manager Steve Parkinson said: “Every council was shocked by the events in Glasgow. If a driver loses control of the vehicle, it’s reassuring to know that equipment like this can step in to prevent a potential disaster.”

The council plans to fit the system to its fleet in May.

 

You can find out more about VT StopSafe at next month’s free Freight in the City Spring Summit on 3 March at Manchester Central. Visit freightinthecity.com for more information.