Telford haulier suspended after drivers worked excessive hours 02 July 2014

A Telford haulage operator has been suspended from running HGVs after traffic commissioner Nick Jones found that drivers had worked excessive hours, broken speed limits and created false records.

Wendy Kerr, who operates from Cross Green in Allscott, also ran more vehicles than were authorised and did not carry out proper checks of driver records.

At a public inquiry, Jones heard that a DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) traffic examiner found several additional issues, including that: 10% of the driver records contained infringements and that one employee had driven HGVs at speeds "clearly in excess of the speed limit".

In his report, the DVSA officer said the operation was out of control. He was particularly concerned at the road safety risks of a driver who regularly worked double shifts. In one instance, he had driven for more than 16 hours in a 24 hour period.

One employee had also used another driver's name for his own driving records, even though at the time the other driver was driving for another business.

Issuing his decision, the traffic commissioner said the failures had stemmed from incompetence and neglect. Transport manager Robert Reilly, who told the regulator he had delegated tasks to a driver, had demonstrated a "woeful disregard for his responsibilities".

"His lack of control stemmed in large part from his lack of knowledge and appreciation to his role," added Jones.

"I am concerned that the road safety risks have been very real and that the competitive advantage obtained by the flagrant abuses of the drivers' hours rules are such that fair competition requirements necessitate firm, albeit proportionate, regulatory action."

The Traffic Commissioner made an order to suspend the operating licence of Wendy Kerr for the whole of July and August 2014. Ms Kerr also had an application to increase her fleet (from four vehicles and four trailers to 12 and 14 respectively) turned down.

Robert Reilly lost his repute and professional competence as a transport manager and is now disqualified from acting in this role until he passes the Certificate of Professional Competence examinations.

Mr Jones also took action against the firm's drivers, including disqualifying a driver who admitted to falsifying records.

Brian Tinham

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Department for Transport

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