A transport manager who failed to carry out his statutory duties because he became a full-time driver has been disqualified indefinitely from the industry.
Philip Haynes-Smith, who resigned from his post with Masters Haulage in February 2017, hadn’t performed the role of transport manager for five years and was found to have a “worrying lack of knowledge” of the drivers’ hours rules.
Nick Denton, the Traffic Commissioner for the West Midlands, said the simple fact was that Haynes-Smith completely failed to exercise any of the required functions for the role.
He was also identified as one of the firm’s worst offending drivers after a Driver and Vehicle Services Agency (DVSA) investigation.
The industry regulator ruled Haynes-Smith had lost his good repute as a transport manager after a public inquiry on 18 July in Birmingham.
Denton said: “A transport manager’s responsibilities cannot be negotiated or neglected. It’s never acceptable for the TM named on an operator’s licence to simply stop carrying out their duties.
“Where circumstances change, transport managers must be proactive. If the TM is asked to take on another role in the business and that affects their transport duties, they need to speak to the licence holder immediately.
“If their concerns are not addressed, TMs should recognise the potential impact own repute and professional competence.”
Masters Haulage came before the Traffic Commissioner as a result of a DVSA investigation in December 2016.
Examiners from the agency reported a number of issues with vehicle and safety standards, including that:
· Vehicles operated by the firm were not being inspected every six weeks as required – on some occasions they were not checked for 16 weeks
· The company had a prohibition rate of 67% over two years – the national average was 28%
· The MOT failure rate for the firm’s vehicles was 38% over a two year period
· More than 12,000km of vehicle mileage could not be accounted for by the company
· There was no evidence that the business had been checking what records its drivers were keeping and whether they were committing offences
The Government inspectors also found evidence that Haynes-Smith was a full time driver and therefore was not fulfilling the role of transport manager. His knowledge of the drivers’ hours rules was practically non-existent.
Denton revoked the company’s operator licence with immediate effect and disqualified its director, Shaughan Genna, who had failed to attend the inquiry.
He said the “irresponsibility” of Genna meant that his firm – Masters Haulage – had operated in an “almost wholly non-compliant manner”.
In a written decision issued after the hearing, Denton said: “Over a period of several years, ran the business without a functioning transport manager and in an almost wholly non-compliant manner.
“His irresponsibility, in failing to send vehicles for their periodic safety checks and entirely ignoring the drivers’ hours rules and the multiple offences his drivers were committing, is of the gravest concern.”