Court on camera24 November 2014

This year's IRTE Conference included a staged public inquiry, presided over by traffic commissioner Kevin Rooney. The case of fictitious transport operator, North East Operating, was heard, which included statements from the vehicle examiner, from the operator's transport manager and from the defending legal team. The audience was then presented with a list of possible outcomes, before traffic commissioner Rooney pronounced his verdict.

What verdict do you think commissioner Rooney delivered? Did North East Operating escape unscathed? Or was its licence curtailed, suspended or revoked? And what action, if any, was taken against transport manager Dave Ashford?

What's the verdict?

Traffic commissioner Kevin Rooney returned to the mock public inquiry, staged at the IRTE conference, to deliver his verdict on the case of North East Operating (NEO).

He reiterated the main issues aired at the hearing, with regard to driver defect reporting, and stretching of maintenance intervals. He also noted that the new service provider, Operator Maintenance, had not yet been audited, despite assurances from NEO that it would do so.

On the positive side, added Rooney, progress has been made to ensure compliance and he noted that there were no infringements between 2007 and 2014.

The tipping point, he said, was NEO's expansion in 2011. It had no systems in place to cope with this increase in work and vehicle numbers.

His decision, therefore, was that the operator's licence would be curtailed to seven vehicles. This would enable NEO to retain its better drivers.

He suspended Dave Ashford, transport manager, for loss of repute. Ashford was ordered to take a two-week residential CPC course to prove his commitment to the role.
A two-month dispensation was granted for the business to operate without a transport manager, to enable Ashford to fulfil this.

The commissioner also confirmed that NEO had six months to demonstrate sufficient financial standing, with further bank statements to be submitted in April 2015

A video of the complete staged public inquiry proceedings can be viewed here.

Laura Cork

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