A haulier who failed to pick up that drivers were falsifying records and carried on operating vehicles after his company was liquidated has been banned for five years by the West Midlands Traffic Commissioner, Nick Denton.
Tony Brookes, the director of TMB International (Haulage), was also disqualified indefinitely from acting as a transport manager, following “serious, sustained and deliberate” non-compliance.
The company’s licence was revoked with immediate effect, after a public inquiry on April 20, which Brookes did not attend.
During the inquiry, Denton heard that:
- Brookes failed to inform the Traffic Commissioner’s Office the company had ceased trading and then entered liquidation
- Brookes carried on operating vehicles after the business had been liquidated – when he had no authority to do so
- Brookes operated vehicles from an unauthorised operating centre
- The company’s vehicles had been issued with 13 prohibitions for mechanical defects over a five year period
- One of the company’s drivers had falsified the record on several occasions
- Brookes’s systems and knowledge were inadequate to identify the driver offending
- The company had been fined by Border Force for facilitating clandestine entry.
The DVSA investigation was prompted by a stop on August 11, 2016, in Harwich Docks. The driver of the vehicle, Guthran Samra, was found to be driving without a tachograph card.
The examiner identified that Samra was typically removing his card towards the end of his shift but continuing to drive without making a record, thereby attempting to disguise insufficient daily rest.
In one instance, on August 10, 2016, Samra’s driver card showed that he took eight hours and 51 minutes daily rest at the end of his shift, when his actual daily rest was only four hours and 22 minutes.
Denton said: “This is a case where the director of the company clearly buried his head in the sand when it came to his operator licence responsibilities.
“He should have been downloading the vehicle unit data and running missing mileage reports to make sure his drivers were working within the rules.
"However, the company had no means of downloading from the vehicle tachograph unit and didn’t know how to perform downloads.
“This failure to led to a driver deliberately making false records and not taking sufficient daily rest – a danger to road safety.
“Mr Brookes must also have known what liquidation meant for his business and that he would be operating vehicles illegally after that time.
"The operator’s licence was held in the name of the limited company so no other entity was authorised to operate under the licence. Operators who enter liquidation can’t carry on operating.”