Ignoring Driver CPC law leads to loss of O-licence for skip operator

A skip operator who knowingly broke the law concerning the Driver CPC for 19 months has been put out of business by a traffic commissioner (TC).

South East and Metropolitan area TC Nick Denton revoked the licence of Richard Mutton after concluding he was not reputable and had a transport manager who showed a “shocking degree of ignorance” .

Mutton drove for more than 18 months without the Driver CPC qualification and also committed numerous offences of driving for more than four and a half hours without a break during that time.

In a written decision, the TC also said that transport manager John Bushnell had “clearly made no effort to keep up to date with changing legislation or other developments” and his ignorance of the rules allowed Mutton to drive unqualified for so long.

It wasn’t until a DVSA roadside encounter that Bushnell became aware there was an issue.

He had also failed to make checks of the operator’s tachograph charts and did not identify a change of entity that led Mutton to operate as a limited company under a sole trader licence.

Under questioning, Bushnell showed he was unaware of the deadline for acquiring the Driver CPC in the first place and was also unaware that the counterpart to the driving licence had been abolished.

Tachograph charts showed that Mutton either did not perform daily walk-around checks or he did not record the check on the chart.

“The strong implication was that these charts were either not checked by Mr Bushnell, or that he did check them but failed to identify or take action to redress these obvious failings,” Denton said. He also noted that Mutton had appeared at five public inquiries in six years of operating and added: “Since the most recent public inquiry in 2014 he has changed entity without informing me and without applying for a new licence. He has driven an HGV on an almost daily basis for 19 months without the legally required Driver CPC, only undertaking the necessary final two modules of training after he had been stopped on 28 April 2016.

“His explanation that he ‘needed to continue to provide for his family’ demonstrates he is prepared to put his own personal interests and convenience before the need to comply with the law relating to the safe and professional driving of vehicles,” Denton added.

“Mr Mutton has shown that, if push comes to shove, he is prepared to operate outside of the law over an extended period of time.”

Bushnell was disqualified from acting as a transport manager under any licence indefinitely and Denton concluded that Mutton needed at least six months away from the industry “to bring home to him that operating outside of the law has consequences and to enable him to undertake further training and a change in his attitude to compliance” .

He added: “I am allowing 28 days for the operator to wind down his business before the revocation takes effect.”

Coultons Bread secures new O-licence for eight vehicles

Coultons Bread, which had its 15 vehicle O-licence revoked in May following Driver CPC fraud, has succeeded in gaining a new licence for eight vehicles at a public inquiry (PI) in Leeds.

Revoking the original licence earlier this year, traffic commissioner Kevin Rooney described how local managers in Bradford, having run out of time in September 2014 to meet the Driver CPC deadline, had put in arrangements to obtain the cards fraudulently.

It claimed the 35 hours of training had been completed when they had not. 

At the earlier PI, Rooney said he was concerned that Chris Holt, who had transport responsibilities and had been part of the fraud, and Lee Wadsworth who ran Coultons’ Bradford Happy Bread site, were still in post.

Rooney said the company’s directors allowed that to happen as they had insufficient control.

Speaking to Coultons Bread director Howard Hunter at the latest PI in Leeds about the employment status of the individuals involved in the Driver CPC fraud, Hunter said he had moved the two named employees to other roles in the business that were not related to transport.

He also confirmed that none of the convicted drivers would drive for the company again.