Are You Taking your Responsibilities to Maintain your Vehicles Seriously?

Running a haulage business is not an easy undertaking.  There are a multitude of decisions to be made  on a daily basis before any driver actually gets behind the wheel and delivers the goods (or passengers!).  It is perhaps easy for some operators to tell themselves that it will be okay to look for “short cuts” and ways that might ease that burden, but if that is what a transport business decides to do, then the old adage “there be dragons” is the one that they will live by.

This seems to have been the case with regard to a recent Public Inquiry for Cruiser Logistics Ltd, which took place earlier this year following a preliminary hearing that was heard in November 2023 which in turn was held because of an unsatisfactory maintenance assessment by the DVSA in April 2023, the point when on one view all the cards in Cruiser Logistics Ltd.’s house began to fall.

At the Public Inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner made adverse findings on numerous areas of maintenance, including that  vehicles had not been presented on time at the 10-week inspection intervals, PMI records for the vehicles had only been made available many weeks after the PMIs had been done, the brake testing regime was inadequate, no driver defect reports had been presented to the inquiry, there were large amounts of missing mileage on tachographs, there were numerous and repeated drivers’ hours infringements and what infringement reports existed had “unconvincing” signatures.  In short, a recipe for disaster both for the business but possibly any other road user that had the misfortune of using the UK’s roads at the same time as Cruiser Logistics Ltd.

The Traffic Commissioner highlighted that the director of the business had ignored the advice of the then transport manager with regard to the PMIs and roller brake tests and that following the TM’s resignation in November 2023 that the director’s excuse that he “hadn’t really known what to do” while trying to find a new TM was “not impressive”.

Summing up his findings the Traffic Commissioner cited both the Priority Freight question (how likely is it that the operator will comply in future?) and the Bryan Haulage question (does the operator deserve to go out of business) and concluded that the “woeful oversight” on all aspects of regulatory compliance with the Operator’s-Licence regime that the company had demonstrated meant that “the company needs a period of time out of the industry in which to take stock and assess whether it wishes to re-enter it, and if it does so to acquire the requisite knowledge and systems before making any future application”  The licence was then revoked with effect from 4th March 2024.

Compliance with all aspects of the regulatory regime for Operator’s-Licence holders is paramount to the security of any haulage business.  It is the foundation on which all other business decisions rest.  Start to undermine that foundation and you could find yourself in front of a Traffic Commissioner facing the loss of your Operator’s Licence and any business that relies upon it.  Pellys Transport & Regulatory Law have been successfully defending clients at Public Inquiries for over 35 years.  As well as helping to get the best outcome for our clients at the “sharp-end” we also have real expertise and experience at helping clients get their compliance systems and procedures set up if they are lacking, or back on track if they have lost their way.

To quote another old adage; “a stitch in time saves nine”.  That is key to ensuring that your O-Licence is not taken away, so call us directly on 01279 818280 or click here to send us an email and let us help you avoid the same fate as Cruiser Logistics Ltd.

We are here to help.

(c) Richard Pelly - June 2024
Making sure your vehicles are safely maintained is key

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