Rapid Response Deliveries has lost its licence to operate vehicles after one of its trucks was found with a device designed to cheat emissions tests.
Industry regulator Nick Denton revoked the transport licence of Rapid Response Deliveries on Tuesday (January 16), concluding that the ignorance of basic operational issues displayed by everyone at the business had been “astonishing”.
The West Midlands Traffic Commissioner said that although there was not enough evidence to conclude that the company had fitted the device to the vehicle, it had still been operated for three years without anyone realising that the vehicle required AdBlue – a chemical which reduces NOx emissions from diesel engines.
The emulator device found on the vehicle had the effect of turning off the use of AdBlue and disabling the warning light on the dashboard which would have told the driver that the AdBlue system was not functioning.
As a result, the stated maximum emission levels of the vehicle were being exceeded.
“The need for AdBlue should have been self-evident to anyone who understood the business of operating HGVs and who had kept up even a marginal acquaintance with the trade press over the last few years,” explained Denton in a written decision issued after a public inquiry in Birmingham.
“The ignorance of basic operational issues displayed by everyone at the company is astonishing.”
During the inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner also heard that the company’s drivers had committed numerous and repeated drivers’ hours offences, while the firm’s nominated transport manager, Michael Mansfield had failed to perform many of the duties he was required to.
Mansfield also did not have a contract of employment with the business, as required, and had only received payment of the most token and sporadic kind. He had therefore not had the “genuine link” with the operator which is a requirement of the legislation. Mansfield was disqualified from acting as a transport manager for an indefinite period of time.