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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Aggregates firm loses transport licence

Office of the Traffic Commissioner

‘Critical road safety issues’ lead to licence revocation for South Wales aggregates and ready-mixed concrete business

A SOUTH Wales aggregates and ready-mixed concrete business has lost its transport licence after the Traffic Commissioner for Wales said innocent people were far more likely to be injured or killed when such little regard was given to safety rules.

Sole trader Brian Lee Hughes, who operates across South Wales as Lee Hughes Haulage, was also disqualified indefinitely from acting as a transport manager because of his ‘lamentable performance’ in that role.

Nick Jones, the industry regulator, said his decision to revoke the operating licence held by Mr Hughes had been a relatively easy one. ‘It is clear from the totality of the evidence that maintenance arrangements and controls were chaotic or non-existent,’ he remarked. ‘A feature [of this case] that caused me particular concern relates to the lack of any real attention to brakes.’

During a public inquiry, an examiner from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) told the Traffic Commissioner he was especially concerned about a vehicle that had been used with braking defects. Despite a driver reporting the defects on a daily basis, no corrective action had been taken.

In evidence to the hearing on 16 June 2017, Mr Hughes claimed maintenance had taken place on the vehicle and said his driver failed to appreciate whether the brakes were defective or not.

The DVSA also reported a number of other issues with the operation run by Mr Hughes:

  • Routine vehicle safety inspections had not taken place on time
  • Essential safety features on inspection paperwork were missing
  • Repeated vehicle defects were being identified on successive driver reports
  • The prohibition rate for mechanical defects on vehicles was twice the national average
  • The MOT failure rate for vehicles was twice the national average
  • Vehicles were being parked at sites not authorized by the Traffic Commissioner.

Mr Jones noted that vehicles involved in the aggregates industry, which are used off road, are more likely to suffer damage to brakes and other components. As a result, he said, operators and transport managers needed to put in place maintenance procedures which make sure those vehicles are safe when out on the public roads.

‘There are critical road safety issues involved in this case,’ he added. ‘As I told Brian Hughes that I was closing his business from midnight on the date of the hearing, it was only then that the seriousness of his failures properly sank in.’

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