A bed manufacturer will have its transport licence suspended for 21 days later this month after failing to comply with vehicle and driver safety rules.
The order against Deepsleep Beds UK, which operates from Warneford Avenue in Ossett and Clerk Green Mills, in Batley, will prevent the firm from running its fleet of 12 HGVs between February 28 and March 21.
Deputy Traffic Commissioner for the North East of England, Miles Dorrington, made the decision after a public inquiry in Leeds last month.
He criticised the company’s directors for failing to deliver on their promises to be compliant at two previous regulatory hearings, in December 2014 and November 2015.
“After the last public inquiry in November 2015 I would have expected this operator to pull out all the stops to ensure compliance. It did not,” he said.
The Deputy Commissioner concluded that the company’s fitness would be marked as “severely tarnished”.
The firm’s latest public inquiry, held in Leeds on January 31, follows a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) investigation into vehicle and driver safety standards.
A DVSA vehicle examiner reported that between July 2015 and September 2016, six of the firm’s vehicles had been prohibited for defects, one of which was deemed to be safety critical (suspension holding down bolts/nuts insecure/missing).
The vehicle examiner additionally found that one routine maintenance inspection had not been undertaken on time, the MOT pass rate for vehicles was below the national average and only two roller brake test records could be produced for one of the vehicles (over a 14 month period).
During the inquiry, Dorrington also heard about a DVSA encounter with one of the company’s vehicles in July 2016, where a driver was found to have committed a large number of offences relating to his driving duties.
A DVSA officer present at the Public Inquiry confirmed that from the records brought to the hearing the operator still was not compliant.
Dorrington concluded that the firm’s directors, Iftikhar Hussain, Mohammed Tariq Raouf, Kamal Aziz and Aftab Hussain Choudhry, had clearly failed to exercise proper and effective management control to ensure compliance with the rules on operating HGVs.
He acknowledged the company had made some improvements, including regularly downloading vehicle and driver data and the use of an external company to check drivers are not committing offences, but said regulatory action against the licence was necessary.
The Deputy Traffic Commissioner was not persuaded that suspension of the licence would put the firm out of business and said they could subcontract the transport work for the 21 days – even though it would be difficult and costly to do so.
Dorrington also made an order to prevent the company’s vehicles being used by any other business during the 21 day suspension.