A HGV driver has been banned from professional driving for three years after he falsified his records and put other road users at risk.
Simon Evans, Traffic Commissioner for the north west of England, ruled that Christopher Champion, 39, manipulated his driving records in a “dishonest fashion” and “for his own convenience”.
Government inspectors found that Champion had used a device to interfere with the tachograph which recorded his driving duties – making it show that he was taking rest when he was actually driving.
By law, HGV drivers are required to take certain rests and breaks so they are not affected by fatigue when driving.
Champion was stopped by Suffolk Police in Bury St Edmunds on August 23, last year. Officers found that the vehicle’s tachograph was showing the vehicle at rest when it was actually being driven.
A vehicle examiner from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) inspected the HGV on August 24 and found that a magnet had been attached to the sender unit of the tachograph.
A magnet fitted to the sender unit of a tachograph is an illegal device because it stops the unit from sending a signal to show the vehicle is moving. This allows the driver to carry on driving, even though the tachograph record will show that the vehicle was not moving.
The device is used by drivers to get around the rules for taking rests and breaks, particularly when they run out of time during a journey.
A DVSA investigation found that Champion had created 13 false records of his driving duties in total.
In one instance, on July 13, 2016, the driver and vehicle records showed that Champion and the vehicle did not move after 2:38pm, recording a daily rest of 18 hours and 22 minutes. However, ANPR cameras picked the vehicle up passing the A14 Elmswell west bound camera at 8:27pm, over five hours after the vehicle began a rest period.
Giving evidence at a driver conduct hearing in Golborne on June 6, Champion admitted to the Traffic Commissioner that he had committed the offences and said he regretted his actions. It was, he argued, the only way he could keep his job.
But the regulator concluded that his offending required a lengthy period outside of professional driving.
“On numerous occasions over a period of two and a half months you manipulated records in a dishonest fashion for your own convenience,” he said.
“Driving whilst tired places at risk the lives of other drivers, as well as members of the public and yourself.”