Disqualification for director of firm who 'willingly put lives at risk'

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The director of a Hull caravan manufacturing firm has been disqualified from running heavy goods vehicles after he put the lives of other road users at risk by allowing another driver to abuse road safety rules.

Robert Holgate let another employee use his name on driving records because the individual was breaching rules designed to make sure drivers do not get tired while they are working.

Holgate’s convictions – and other matters reported to the Traffic Commissioner – led to the revocation of an operator’s licence held by R & M Vehicle Services in September last year. The industry regulator also disqualified the firm’s director and transport manager, Michael Holgate, for three months.

R&M Leisure Homes was called to a public inquiry in October last year because Michael Holgate was listed as the firm’s director and transport manager.

The company had also applied to run extra vehicles and trailers – increasing from three vehicles and three trailers to nine vehicles and nine trailers.

Michael Holgate resigned from the company following his disqualification but the business failed to tell the Traffic Commissioner’s Office that Robert Holgate had become the firm’s sole director.

In evidence to the public inquiry, Robert Holgate admitted that allowing his name to be used on another driver’s records was a stupid thing to do and that it would never happen again. He added that he now worked on the caravan side of the business and left the transport to Duane Harrison, the company’s transport manager.

However, in a written decision issued after the hearing, the Traffic Commissioner said: “As the sole director, the credit I can give him for that is limited. He is still responsible for the transport operation, he employs the transport manager and he has budgetary control.

“It is also he who is responsible for the overall company’s financial performance and that performance relies to a degree at least on the transport operation.”

He added: “The nature of the convictions sustained by Robert Holgate, where he willingly put the lives of others at risk by allowing his identity to be used by another driver to abuse the drivers’ hours rules, means that I must consider disqualification.

“A period of six months is appropriate bearing in mind both the element of colluding with another as well as the failure to identify himself as a director of this licence”.

Robert Holgate told the Traffic Commissioner that he had given up professional driving.

The orders for revocation of the company’s licence and Robert Holgate’s disqualification both came into effect on February 17, 2017. Michael Holgate was disqualified as a transport manager for a further three months, with effect from the same date.


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