Licence revoked after sole director on duty for 24 hours

Safety inspections were not being undertaken within the six weekly stated interval and there was an ineffective system in place for reporting and rectifying roadworthiness defects

North Walsham-based Wrights Coaches had its O-Licence revoked on evidence of 41 offences

The three-vehicle international O-Licence held by North Walsham-based PTS Group (Norfolk), trading as Wrights Coaches, has been revoked by Deputy Traffic Commissioner (DTC) Miles Dorrington after evidence that sole Director and Transport Manager (TM) Matthew Wright had committed 41 offences, and had on one occasion been on duty for 24 hours, during which he had driven on a school run and on a rail replacement service.

The DTC disqualified both the company and Mr Wright from holding or obtaining a PSV O-Licence for 12 months and Mr Wright from acting as a TM for two years. His PCV driving licence was suspended for six months.

The company, Mr Wright and eight drivers had been called before the DTC at a Cambridge Public Inquiry.

Evidence was given by a Traffic Examiner that following an unannounced visit to the company in September 2019 a detailed examination of the drivers’ hours and maintenance records was launched. A total of 63 drivers’ hours and tachograph offences were detected over a three-month period. Sixteen tachograph records had been falsified, including seven by Mr Wright. Drivers had used other drivers’ names on records to conceal the taking of insufficient rest. Records for journeys accounting for 4,586 miles were also missing.

Evidence was given by a Vehicle Examiner that there was no forward planning system in place for routine coach maintenance. Safety inspections were not being undertaken within the six weekly stated interval and there was an ineffective system in place for reporting and rectifying roadworthiness defects. Maintenance records had not been kept for the required 15 months.

Making the revocation and disqualification orders after holding that Mr Wright had lost his repute, the DTC said that Mr Wright had been responsible for ensuring that drivers, including himself, were compliant with the drivers’ hours and tachograph rules and regulations and with licensing requirements. He had compromised road safety to gain an unfair commercial advantage. There was ineffective management control and procedures,
insufficient procedures in place to detect the falsification of drivers’ hours or ensure the appropriate use of tachograph or manual records, resulting in significant missing mileage, and there was a failure to take any disciplinary action against any driver who had committed breaches of the regulations.

The DTC revoked the PCV driving licence held by driver Graham Baily who had committed one false record offence. He suspended the licences held by drivers Philip Howes (nine offences); David Upton (three offences); Steven Marsh (three offences); and Timothy Johnson (one offence of aiding and abetting the making of a false record), for various periods of time.

Drivers Peter Hague (two offences) and Ryan Anderson and Trevor Howes, who had each committed one offence, were given formal warnings.

A variation application by the company to increase the O-Licence authorisation to six vehicles was refused.