Five year disqualification for risk to road safety

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The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland has disqualified a Dundee-based scaffolding company and its director for five years following the repeated unlawful use of a vehicle.

The decision follows a public inquiry into the business, which assessed the company’s illegal use of a vehicle before it was given an operator’s licence.

The industry regulator concluded AFS Scaffolding Ltd poses “a significant risk to road safety” and that director Ross Findlay “deliberately and repeatedly” operated a vehicle without the required operator’s licence.

Businesses are required to hold a valid licence to run commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and must satisfy specific standards to keep the licence.

The company’s application for an operator licence was considered at an inquiry before the Deputy Traffic Commissioner for Scotland in February, following allegations that it had been using a vehicle unlawfully.

It gave assurances to the Deputy Commissioner that the unlawful use had been “infrequent and happened as a result of error rather than a deliberate attempt to avoid the licensing regime”. After considering the application in detail, the company was told it could start running vehicles on 29 March.

However, evidence subsequently gathered by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) revealed the company had continued to use the vehicle unlawfully before its operator’s licence came into force.

In evidence at the latest public inquiry, the company stated that one of the journeys was “an emergency job to stabilise someone’s chimney”.

It told the Deputy Traffic Commissioner that the vehicle had been parked up for lengthy period prior to the licence being granted, however, inspections revealed it had travelled 10,000km between December 10, 2018 and March 25, 2019; a period during which the company did not have a licence.

The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Claire Gilmore, said: “Unlawful operation for such a lengthy period undoubtedly resulted in this operator gaining an unfair competitive advantage.”

Additional concerns raised at the inquiry related to vehicle safety standards, including a vehicle that was not checked properly and sent out with a tyre worn below the legal limit. The defect was categorised as safety critical.

The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain have set out two key objectives that they intend to deliver between 2019 and 2021. These cover:

  • Delivering a modern, effective operator licensing regime and reducing the burden on the compliant
  • Promoting a safe road transport industry which supports compliance and fair competition

A copy of the Traffic Commissioner’s written decision on AFS Scaffolding Ltd is available here.

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