The Senior Traffic Commissioner, Richard Turfitt, has warned operators facing a public inquiry to take robust and immediate action over safety concerns – or risk losing their licence.
Turfitt’s intervention comes after he revoked a Fenland-based tipper operator's licence because shortcomings were not rectified and a subsequent audit also identified ongoing issues.
Malcolm Mandley, trading as Mandley Bros, did not produce up to date preventative maintenance inspection sheets at a Cambridge public inquiry last month, while earlier safety records suggested there had been a failure in driver defect reporting. Mandley also didn't introduce dynamic brake tests, despite DVSA advice in January.
Turfitt, in his role as Traffic Commissioner for the East of England, made an order to revoke Mandley's licence from 11:59pm on July 31 and disqualified him from acting as a transport manager for one year, ruling that he must take and pass the CPC examination.
Reflecting on the importance of taking effective action prior to a regulatory hearing, the Senior Traffic Commissioner said: “Operators should be aware of how commissioners decide what action to take at public inquiry.
“The Senior Traffic Commissioner’s publicly available statutory guidance explains that TCs have to be proportionate and make findings on the day of the inquiry. This takes into account any improvements made prior to the hearing.
“But in some cases the present is simply the culmination of past events. There are instances where revocation is justified even at the first public inquiry because the operator has already had the chance to put things right by the date of the hearing but failed to do so.
“It is really important for operators to be proactive at all times when it comes to their vehicle and driver safety regimes, but especially so where they have been put on notice – whether by the maintenance contractor, an auditor or DVSA – of failures or shortcomings. These must be addressed immediately and documented.
“Operators should be attending a public inquiry with evidence of what they have done to rectify the issues and be able to show improvements in the compliance regime, if they don’t want to face the possibility of losing their licence.”
Licence holders who are called to a public inquiry are required to bring a number of documents to the hearing, notice of which is given at least five weeks before the inquiry date. This includes:
· Evidence of financial standing for the vehicles authorised on the licence
· PMIs and driver defect reports covering a three month period
· Evidence of systems for ensuring compliance with drivers’ hours and tachograph legislation