30-month disqualification for “untruthful” HGV driver who obstructed investigators

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A HGV driver has been disqualified from professional driving for 30 months after the Traffic Commissioner for Wales found he had falsified records and lied to government inspectors.

Paul Stevens, 44, of Woodside Avenue, Kinmel Bay, failed to attend a conduct hearing into his vocational driving licence on June 26, 2017, before the industry regulator, Nick Jones.

Stevens was originally called to a hearing on February 23, when the Traffic Commissioner also considered the operator’s licence held by Andrew and Elizabeth Hughes trading as Wasteaters, but he did not turn up.

The hearing into his professional driving licence was prompted after DVSA examiners stopped Stevens on December 2, 2016. He told a traffic examiner that it was his first day of driving and that he was returning the vehicle from repair. Stevens then refused to answer further questions about his duties and employer, saying that he wished to seek legal advice.

However, the DVSA officer found a driver defect book in the vehicle, which recorded an entry from October 20, 2016, completed by Paul Stevens, with another entry from November 10 marked “Stevens”. Defect books are used by drivers to log any mechanical defects with vehicles before they are used on the road.

The examiner also identified 10 tachograph records in the name of Stevens, for dates in October, five dates in November and one date in December 2016. Tachograph records are used to record driving and other work.

The examiner concluded these records had been deliberately withheld in an attempt to frustrate his inspection. He subsequently cautioned Stevens for failing to produce records.

In a written decision issued after the hearing last month, Jones said: “The refusal to inform the traffic examiner who he worked for is an especially serious issue, I regard it as wholly unacceptable for examiners to be misled this way.

“Mr Stevens was driving a vehicle without external mirrors. My finding of fact is that he would have known that the vehicle was defective and chose to drive it with known defects.

“Mr Stevens has worked for a number of years for a rogue operator, he knew that his employer was a rogue and this contributed to his decision to obstruct the DVSA when stopped, including refusing to give details of his employer, lying about how long he had worked for his employer and generally obstructing the DVSA in its investigations.”

The order to disqualify Stevens from professional driving took effect on July 3, 2017.

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