Licence suspended for 21 days

Drivers’ hours and vehicle maintenance issues have resulted in the 17-vehicle International O-Licence held by Tregaron-based Brodyr James Cyfyngedig being suspended for 21 days by Deputy Traffic Commissioner (DTC) Anthony Seculer.

The company, of Glanyrafon Garage, Llangeitho, Tregaron, was called before the DTC at a Welshpool Public Inquiry (PI). Gwyn Richard Lewis was appointed as Transport Manager (TM) in September 2018 following a previous Public Inquiry in May 2018 when Director David Elwyn James lost his repute as a TM. Undertakings were given that the services of Tacho Man be engaged on a permanent basis and for an audit of maintenance systems and documentation to be provided after nine months.

The DTC said that the audit report from the Lloyd Morgan Group revealed little progress from the last inquiry. Many of the basic maintenance systems were marked as ‘unsatisfactory’ or ‘area for improvement’. The Tacho Man report concluded that there was no improvement at all since their involvement with the company.

Vehicle Examiner Lee Rees said that a delayed prohibition had been issued during a maintenance investigation. He found that driver defect reports were not being acted upon. Driver reportable defects were being found at safety inspections. There was no tyre management system and tyres over 10-years-old were in use. There were no measured brake performance tests between annual tests.

Traffic Examiner Ann Morgan said that she found that drivers’ hours records were incomplete. Ineffective action was being taken on infringements by drivers. She concluded that the TM’s control was insufficient. Despite the previous Public Inquiry the systems were still in disarray.

The DTC said that progress since the last PI had been woefully inadequate. Mr Lewis had been frustrated in attempts to modernise the systems. Whilst his loyalty to his employers was commendable, he pointed out to him that he risked losing his repute and professional competence as a TM if he allowed his management of systems and drivers to fail. Mr Lewis had a duty to manage, or, to resign from the role and inform the Traffic Commissioner of the reason, if he was frustrated.

Director, David Elwyn James, was now 72 years of age. His fellow Director, Thomas Morgan Gwywfor James was now 80 years of age. While age was not a disqualifying factor, both Directors needed to demonstrate that they had the commitment, energy and capacity to modernise systems. He had given credit for their willingness to engage professionals to make recommendations. Where they had patently failed was in implementing those recommendations and in giving those employed authority to make changes in their place.

He had been told that the company performed a valued service within the local community transporting children and vulnerable members of society. Their safety could not be allowed to be compromised by continuing to ignore current operating standards. The recent past was not encouraging but he had been assured that the company was determined to work with professional advisers to address the shortcomings. Based on their long history and their stated value to the local community, he was prepared to give the company a final opportunity to demonstrate full compliance. If the directors failed, they could be in no doubt as to the likely outcome for their business.

The DTC imposed undertakings requiring the company to operate a fully functional and effective driver defect reporting system; to ensure that all vehicles received rolling road brake tests at quarterly intervals; to maintain the services of Tacho Man, to monitor compliance with drivers’ hours and working time and to demonstrate that any infringements were brought to the attention of drivers and acted upon; to have an audits of tachograph and drivers’ hours/working time compliance from Tacho Man and on maintenance systems from Lloyd Morgan Group covering a six-month period.