Warning card from traffic commissioner28 October 2016

Operators and transport managers must be extra vigilant for drivers who are using more than one card to hide excessive driving.

That’s the warning from traffic commissioner Nick Denton, who is also warning drivers that they will face significant action against their vocational licences if they use more than one driver card.

His comments come after conduct hearings in Eastbourne this month, where drivers were reported for using two driver cards to conceal excessive driving – which the regulator described as “truly frightening” in one case.

Three of the drivers, Kulwant Shah, Jaswinder Singh and Baldeep Singh Litt, were disqualified from professional driving for 12 months. A further two drivers received six-month disqualifications.

The Traffic Commissioner suspended the vocational licences of two other drivers, Lakhvir Geer and Sandeep Singh Brar, for failing to attend conduct hearings. The suspensions will be indefinite until they attend a hearing before a commissioner.

“Shockingly, driver Kulwant Shah was also the sole director and transport manager of Bolina Transport,” says Denton, who has revoked the company’s operator licence and disqualified Shah from holding a licence and from being a transport manager for five years.

On up to 20 occasions, Shah used a tachograph card belonging to another driver, who had only briefly been employed before emigrating. On a further 75 occasions, Shah allowed one of his employees – Jogmohan Singh – to use the same card in order to exceed the maximum driving and/or working time allowed.

The traffic commissioner also dealt with drivers committing similar offences for other companies – mainly subcontractors in the tarmac and aggregates sector.

Jaswinder Singh used two cards to make 17 false records. He drove double shifts, typically taking a daily rest of between four and six hours – far short of the minimum nine. Singh had previously received a suspended custodial sentence after pleading guilty to the offences in court.

Baldeep SinghLitt used two cards to make 13 false records. He drove double shifts, one on occasion taking only 17 minutes’ rest between an 11.5 hour night shift and a nine-hour day shift. He had previously received a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to the offences in court.

The regulator says: “While there will be many legitimate instances where a card is lost or stolen and a new card is required by the driver, operators and transport managers should look out for drivers who are using cards with different index numbers within the same employment.

“If cards with different index numbers are used in similar periods – and the driver has not reported to you that their card was lost or stolen – this may also be an indication that two cards could be in use at the same time.”

Laura Cork

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