Another day, another licence revoked – how you can avoid it

Another day, another licence revoked….sadly the case detailed below is all too familiar. The cost of non-compliance almost always outweighs the cost of complying in the first place and it begs the question of why operator’s choose not to adhere to the undertakings they agreed to when applying for their operator licence.

Cash flow? Lack of knowledge? Wasn’t aware? None of these are valid excuses in the eyes of the law and with the information and support available from companies such as us there really isn’t a reason that this should be happening.

Unfortunately, it was a little too late for this company but others can avoid this fate with little investment of time and money.

Here’s the story……..

A skip haulier’s appeal against the revocation of its O-licence, on the grounds that he had begun to make major changes, has been dismissed as “too little too late” by the Upper Tribunal. In a public inquiry (PI) in December, Nick Denton, traffic commissioner (TC) for London and the South East, took away an O-licence issued to Richard and Sylvia Jones, trading as Acorn Skip Hire, and banned director and transport manager Richard Jones from holding or obtaining an O-licence for three years. Jones was also disqualified from acting as a transport manager for an indefinite period.

The PI took place following an unsatisfactory fleet inspection by the DVSA in October 2014, which uncovered PMI records that were missing or not fully completed; a lack of an effective forward planning system for PMIs, MOTs or tachograph calibrations; no maintenance contract; an insufficient drivers’ defect reporting system; and a 43% prohibition rate over the previous five years. It also failed to notify the TC that it no longer ran two of the vehicles specified on its O-licence, and did not tell the TC that director Sylvia Jones had left the business. An S-marked prohibition had also been issued to one of its vehicles for an insecure lamp lens and insecure fuel tank before the inspection took place. In a separate court hearing, Jones had pleaded guilty to using a vehicle without a valid test certificate; using an HGV outside the period of grace; failing to produce tachograph sheets, driver cards or printouts at the roadside; failing to use tachograph record sheets; and using a vehicle when a SORN declaration had been made. He was fined £500 with £551 costs and £653 backdated excise duty. At the PI, TC Denton revoked the licence, concluding that he had no confidence in Jones operating compliantly in future. Jones appealed against the decision in January, stating that he had since employed a transport consultant to ensure future compliance and had started a transport manager CPC course. The Upper Tribunal ruled that Jones had “suffered a mandatory loss of good repute”, which meant the business had lost its professional competence as he was no longer qualified to act as its transport manager. It also concluded that the change in management of the business was a “sufficiently serious change to warrant revocation of the licence”. Upper Tribunal Judge Michael Brodrick said in his written decision: “Sadly this appears to be yet another example of an operator doing ‘too little too late’. Since it appears that all the matters on which the appellant seeks to rely are ‘circumstances which did not exist’ at the date of the traffic commissioner’s decision… the Tribunal is prohibited by Parliament from taking them into account.”

Source: Commercial Motor

So how could this been avoided?

  • Forward planning - it’s essential!! In order to manage all inspection and maintenance works, forward planning must be put into place. This should have been done through means of a wall chart or computer system. All planned maintenance must be at least 6 months in advance at all times.

  • Vehicle roadworthiness – It goes without saying, all operators must ensure their vehicles are roadworthy. Roadworthiness can be checked through daily walk-round checks, MOT’s, servicing etc. All operators should have a maintenance contract in place with a provider and carry out inspections to ensure their service provider is doing their job correctly. Operators must remember that even though they outsource maintenance they are still ultimately responsible.

  • Changes to the o’licence – DVSA must be kept up to date with any changes to the o’licence, you have 28 days to inform them of any changes and it can be done by sending a letter, making changes online or asking a company like us to do it for a very low fee.

  • Driver training – Drivers should have been to ensure they know how to carry out a daily walk round check and know how to report any defects. The issues the company above had could have been picked up on a walk-round check and also through PMI’s if they had maintenance carried out as it should have been. Driver’s prohibitions would have also been cut down through driver training.

So you might be thinking this all sounds expensive and time consuming, and that you can’t afford to take drivers off the road for training or that you can get your mate in to repair the lorry when you find a fault and you have a receipt to prove work has been done so there is no need for defect reports……well you can do all that, if you want to end up like the company above.

Putting systems into place doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

Our next blog will tell you how you can be compliant, put systems and processes in place within your organisation without breaking the bank.

Head over to “Don’t break the bank to comply”

#noncompliance #law #legislation #maintenance #roadworthiness #olicence #drivertraining #defects #operatorlicence #undertakings

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