NSL, the company contracted by DVLA to remove untaxed cars, has had one of its truck operators licences reduced for four weeks by the Traffic Commissioner.
The company appeared before Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton earlier this month after an investigation into its vehicle operations based in Peterborough.
Denton found that although the company had put a transport manager in place on its East of England licence in September 2013, he was based elsewhere and did not visit the operating centre.
The industry regulator concluded that practices became “lax”, resulting in occasionally missed vehicle safety inspections, the appointment of an ineffective maintainer and the failure of a driver to check his vehicle over a considerable period of time – leading to a double wheel loss.
The wheel loss incident occurred on May 21 2015 when a loaded vehicle lost two rear wheels while travelling.
In March 2016, a vehicle operated by the company was prohibited for a safety critical defect – a defective rear stop lamp – during its MOT.
At a follow up investigation, a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) examiner identified a number of shortcomings in the company’s vehicle maintenance procedures:
- Routine vehicle safety inspections had been missed on some occasions, extended from 8 up to 16 and 21 weeks
- Driver defect reports showed continuous reporting of the same defects
- Driver related defects identified on routine safety inspection sheets
- Defects identified at routine safety inspections were not shown as rectified
- Forward planning not regularly monitored
- The company’s maintenance provider had changed but this was not notified to the Traffic Commissioner’s Office
Recording his decision to curtail the firm’s Peterborough operations from three to two vehicles from 1 to 29 November 2016, the Traffic Commissioner said:
“While I recognise the operator has instigated considerable improvements to ensure against a repetition, there remains work to be done. A more rigorous system of auditing driver defect checks is required, and needs to include the recording of such audits. Driver training needs to be enhanced – it is not always enough to provide more written material.”
Denton remarked that the transport manager appointed in 2013 had not concerned himself with the licence at all.
“Although others were in theory carrying out the tasks of the transport manager, no one at the site held a CPC qualification and practices became lax.”