Truck operators need to 'take ownership of compliance', says commissioner

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The London and South East Traffic Commissioner has called on restricted operators to “take ownership of compliance” after revoking an operating licence for widespread failings. 

Nick Denton, the region’s Traffic Commissioner, said Rateneed Ltd, which trades as Deepak Foods, had shown no appreciation for the need to operate within safety regulations and no urgency to improve standards. 

His decision to revoke the company’s licence from 00:01 on 15 July means the business will be prevented from carrying goods using commercial vehicles. 

The regulator said it was clear the Tooting business had to undergo a complete change of culture before it could be trusted to hold a licence again. 

He added that directors needed to assume their responsibilities or give way to others with the required capabilities. 

“Somebody in the organisation needs to take ownership of compliance and acquire the necessary knowledge – through formal training – of an operator’s responsibilities and duties.” 

During a public inquiry last week, the Traffic Commissioner heard about issues with the firm’s vehicle and driver standards. 

Investigations by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) revealed: 

  • The operator had failed to carry out any downloads from its vehicle (a legal requirement to check the work of drivers) despite having acquired it in July 2014; 
  • The vehicle was found with an insecure load on two occasions 
  • The vehicle was found to be 20% overloaded; 
  • The company had a 100% failure rate for MOT tests over a three year period; 
  • The vehicle had not been given routine safety inspections on time, with gaps of up to four months between checks 
  • The vehicle twice failed to comply with London Safer Lorry Scheme requirements; 
  • The use of a premises in Wimbledon without authority 

The company had also been using a car repairer for its vehicle maintenance, with inspection sheets designed for cars being used. 

Denton found that despite the issues being brought to the company’s attention in March 2016, there had been minimal action to address the shortcomings by the day of the inquiry. 

The Traffic Commissioner concluded: “The operator is still using an unauthorised operating centre and is still doing nothing to ensure observance of drivers’ hour’s rules. 

“It has shown no appreciation of the need to operate within the safety regulations and no urgency to improve or follow the specific suggestions of the traffic examiner.” 

The regulator added there would be much work for the directors to do if ever they wished to apply successfully for a licence in the future. 

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