Scaffolding Firm Stripped of Operator’s License
1st November 2016
The firm, based in Mitcham, South London had its O-licence revoked on 28 October after Traffic Commissioner, Nick Denton concluded compliance had not improved since its truck was stopped earlier this year.
A roadside stop in June discovered that the firm was using a vehicle that had an out-of-date annual test certificate; three under-inflated tyres; two inoperative indicators; an inoperative front headlight dipped beam; inoperative windscreen washers; a missing rear wheel spray suppression device and an insecure load.
The driver, who was also the firm’s Director, did not have his category C entitlement on his driving licence, despite passing the category C test last year. He was also not using and did not possess a tachograph card.
The truck was not specified on the firm’s O-licence and was displaying an O-licence disc that had been issued for a truck that the company sold in 2014.
In August it was fined a total of £4,000 for the offences by the City of London Magistrates’ Court.
The company was only able to produce one preventative maintenance inspection sheet at its public inquiry in Eastbourne last month, and it accepted that no other safety inspections had been carried out.
The Director admitted that he had focused on getting business and carrying out scaffolding work rather than ensuring compliance with the road transport rules.
Mr Denton, TC for London and the South East, gave the firm credit for the effort they had made to improve compliance, which included having the correct entitlement added to his driving licence; acquiring a tachograph card and starting to carry out driver walk-around checks. However, Denton doubted the authenticity of the driver defect reports provided at the hearing as none showed any recording of defects or mileage.
The firm’s Director had also failed to improve compliance with drivers’ hours rules; the company had still not removed its former truck from its O-licence; it had not told the TC about a director change in 2013; and no further safety check of the vehicle had been made since June.
“Given that by the Director’s own admission he is driving the vehicle and also working seven days a week, he is clearly committing weekly rest offences,” the TC said.
However, Denton held back from disqualifying the company boss as a Director as he believed his failures stemmed from a lack of knowledge rather than a deliberate attempt to deceive the TC.
He said: “The Director’s actions have been inadequate. There has been a comprehensive failure in compliance; other road users have been placed in danger from a thoroughly unroadworthy and unchecked vehicle.”
Denton said the Director must attend a one-day O-licence management course and show that he has a contract with a transport consultant before applying for permission to operate again.