Timber haulier suspended from operating for two months after driver fatigue breaches

A timber haulier has been suspended from operating HGVs for two months after Scotland’s Traffic Commissioner heard that the owner had breached rules designed to prevent driver fatigue.

Commissioner Joan Aitken said she hoped the decision against M H Young Ltd – along with a three month professional driving suspension for director Melissa Young – would act as “the biggest wake up call she could ever get in her career as a driver and haulier”.

Her directions follow a public inquiry in Edinburgh in June which heard about issues with vehicle and driver safety standards.

Examiners from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) reported concerns over the roadworthiness of vehicles operated by M H Young, including the issue of prohibition notices for safety critical defects.

Aitken was told that numerous drivers’ hours offences had been identified during the DVSA investigation, including four offences of exceeding the daily driving limit of 10 hours.

The Traffic Commissioner was also made aware of two mobile phone offences for Young, both of which were committed in a HGV.

In a written decision issued after the hearing, Aitken said: “A professional driver of 10 years standing should not have incurred the level of drivers’ hours offences which Miss Young has done.

“She has become careless and self serving by doing this and I formed the impression that she had listened to far too many others within forestry haulage in particular, and had allowed herself to be lured into the laziness and carelessness of not keeping a true record of breaks and other work.”

Aitken noted that drivers’ hours and tachograph rules were in place to prevent driver fatigue and that a tired driver/operator is a risk to road safety.

“By not organising her working life to take clear breaks at the prescribed intervals and to exceed her hours, Young has prejudiced road safety,” she added.

The Traffic Commissioner’s orders came into effect at 23:59 on 31 August 2015.

The operator’s licence held by M H Young was suspended for two months from that date.

Young’s vocational licence to driver large goods vehicles was suspended for three months from that date.

Young was also warned as to her repute, in respect of her role as transport manager.

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