The West of England Traffic Commissioner, Kevin Rooney, has disqualified the owner of a Bristol chilled food transport firm after two of his drivers were jailed for creating false records of their driving duties.
The industry regulator said the failings of Adam Pawelczyk’s business were “widespread and deeply serious”, with one driver found guilty of knowingly making false records on 45 occasions.
Another driver was convicted of knowingly making false records on 17 occasions.
By law, drivers are limited to the number of hours they can work and are required to take regular breaks and rest. Tachograph devices and driver cards are used to record their duties, including when they are taking breaks.
Government inspectors found two drivers, Karol Brzykcy and Tadeusz Dabrowski, had made use of a driver card belonging to Pawelczyk to hide excessive driving.
Pawelczyk had lost his card and was unaware the drivers were using it – having no procedures in place to check. The offending was identified following a roadside encounter of one of his vehicles.
Further analysis of records by a traffic examiner from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) revealed offences had in fact been committed by drivers across the business.
The most serious were found in the records of Brzycky and Dabrowski, who used Pawelczyk’s driver card to continue driving when they were legally not allowed to.
This included instances when:
- Brzykcy was on duty for a total of 34 hours and 43 minutes between June 10 and 11 2015, during which time he drove for 16 hours and 51 minutes and took no qualifying rest.
- Brzykcy was on duty for 19 hours and 57 minutes between 25 and 26 June 2015 and had insufficient daily rest of 4 hours and 3 minutes - the minimum daily rest is 11 hours.
- Brzykcy was on duty for 46 hours and 26 minutes between 19 and 21 October 2015, with a longest recorded rest period of 4 hours and 41 minutes.
- Dabrowski was on duty for 16 hours and 45 minutes on 06 July 2015 and had insufficient daily rest within a 24 hour period.
- Dabrowski was on duty for 24 hours and 22 minutes between 03 and 04 November 2015 and had a rest period of 5 hours 23 minutes.
- Dabrowski was on duty for a total of 17 hours and 10 minutes on 28 November 2015, taking an insufficient daily rest of 6 hours 50 minutes before he recommenced duty on 29 November
During a public inquiry in Bristol on October 30, the Traffic Commissioner also heard that Pawelczyk had used the licence of another business, Mike 1 (Bristol), to increase his operations.
Licences are not transferrable and therefore Pawelczyk was illegally operating the vehicles under the false authority of Mike 1 (Bristol). He also failed to provide evidence of his financial standing to the inquiry or that his transport manager, Antoni Pawelczyk, had undertaken any of his statutory duties in that position. Both are mandatory legal requirements.
Rooney said: “The seriousness of the drivers’ hours matters is illustrated by the prison sentences served by two of his drivers.
“Drivers used Mr Pawelczyk’s digital tachograph card to hide driving over long periods of time and failing to take adequate rest.
“The compliance failings are widespread and deeply serious such that Mr Pawelczyk has lost his good repute.”
Zoe Murray-Ross, DVSA’s head of enforcement, added: “DVSA is committed to protecting you from unsafe drivers and vehicles.
“Driving while tired poses a huge risk and we’ll not hesitate to target those drivers, operators and transport managers who deliberately gamble with people’s lives.
“DVSA will continue to invest in its enforcement staff, technology and sites to help achieve our vision for safer drivers, safer vehicles and safer journeys for all.”
The Traffic Commissioner’s disqualification order against Pawelczyk took immediate effect.
His operator’s licence was also revoked on the day of the hearing and the findings will be passed to the Polish authorities where Pawelczyk also operates a haulage business. Antoni Pawelczyk was disqualified from acting as a transport manager in any member state for a period of three years.
The Traffic Commissioner also refused a new licence application from AdamP Transport. The director of the company is Aleksandara Pawelczyk, Mr Pawelczyk’s wife.