Firm’s bid for extra vehicles turned down by regulator due to road safety failings

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A Hatfield plant and aggregate supplier has failed in its bid to operate extra heavy goods vehicles after an industry regulator found there was insufficient management of compliance within the company.

Richard Turfitt, the Traffic Commissioner for the East of England, also concluded Peters Brothers, had been “too slow” to implement changes following safety issues reported by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

In evidence to the inquiry, a DVSA vehicle examiner reported several shortcomings in the company’s operation of vehicles, including:

· Regular safety inspections were not carried out on time
· Rectification work for defects identified by drivers was not recorded
· A vehicle was issued with a safety critical prohibition notice for an excessively worn steering relay arm pivot
· A driver was issued with a £100 fixed penalty for an insecure load
· The operator was convicted and fined £800 for using a vehicle in excess of its authorisation
· The MOT pass rate was poor

The Traffic Commissioner curtailed the company’s licence from 23:59 on March 21 for one week – following a public inquiry on the same day – and ruled the operator’s repute had been tarnished.

He indicated that, whilst other operators might consider that intervention to be lenient, he also took into account the considerable impact on the business of his refusal to grant an increase in authority despite the commercial needs of the operator.    

The Traffic Commissioner heard that while the company had made some apparent improvements in the maintenance, the number of MOT test failures and advisory matters still needed to be addressed.

The operator also accepted that Peters’ oversight meant there had not been continuous and effective management of the transport operations, which led to the company’s conviction before the City of London Magistrates’ Court.

The business was also given a two month period of grace to find a new transport manager after Peters indicated his intention to retire prior to the hearing. He subsequently accepted a personal undertaking not to rely on his Acquired Rights Certificate.

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