Douglas Bain banned from holding licence or acting as a TM for a period, as well as seeing revocation of a pair of O-Licences
The 12-vehicle national O-Licence held by Oldmeldrum-based Douglas Bain, trading as Bain’s Coaches, and the six-vehicle international O-Licence held by ABC (Methlick) Ltd, have been revoked by Traffic Commissioner (TC) Claire Gilmore.
Ms Gilmore disqualified Mr Bain and the company from holding or obtaining a PSV O-Licence for five years, and Mr Bain from acting as a Transport Manager (TM) for a similar period, after an Edinburgh Public Inquiry (PI).
Making the revocation and disqualification orders, the TC said that Mr Bain appeared before her in three capacities: As a sole trader, as the sole Director of ABC (Methlick), and as a TM. He managed and directed the transport operations of Bain’s Coaches and exercised the same responsibilities in relation to ABC (Methlick).
The TC found Mr Bain to be reluctant and unreliable. It was clear that no downloading of data or analysis in relation to drivers’ hours was taking place, and had not for a considerable period.
Periods of driving ‘off card’ and drivers’ hours infringements were identified. There were significant shortcomings in Mr Bain’s arrangement for the maintenance of his vehicles. Serious shortcomings identified in 2019 were still evident, despite DVSA advice and assurances given by Mr Bain.
Those findings, coupled to Mr Bain’s obvious lack of knowledge or understanding of the rules relating to transport operation or his TM responsibilities, led Ms Gilmore to conclude that there had been no proper management of his transport operations for a considerable period of time.
Mr Bain’s position was that he had delegated those responsibilities to others. While some delegation may be acceptable, it was incumbent upon an operator and TM to oversee operations and ensure that undertakings on the O-Licence were met.
Mr Bain grudgingly admitted that he had not done so. However, he did not appear to accept that his failure to keep his knowledge or skills current was an issue.
The absence of evidence to show, even by the PI, that proper brake testing was being carried out, or that vehicles were being properly maintained according to schedule, led the TC to find that road safety and fair competition had been significantly compromised by Mr Bain.
However, perhaps the most serious aspect of this case were the allegations concerning his failure to cooperate with, and obstruction of, DVSA officers.
Mr Bain directed one of his employees to withhold vital documentation from a Vehicle Examiner during his investigation, and failed to deny that there had been retrospective completion, and thus falsification, of maintenance records.
Ms Gilmore also noted how documentation that had been requested by a Traffic Examiner without response was later provided for the PI. Mr Bain’s attitude at PI was one of arrogance rather than of concern for compliance.
Mr Bain has clearly obtained a commercial advantage, and compromised road safety, by deliberately failing, for a significant period, to keep his vehicles fit and serviceable, or to ensure that the laws on drivers’ hours were complied with.
He attempted to conceal his failures by falsifying documents. This was a bad case in which dishonesty was a feature.