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Drivers used managers' names on tacho charts

31st January 2002
Page 17
Page 17, 31st January 2002 — Drivers used managers' names on tacho charts
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Keywords : Tachograph, Finnerty, Whitley

A transport manager at a Wrexham-based firm has lost his HGV driving licence after drivers used his name as a "ghost driver" or false tachograph records.

Gary Finnetty, who works for Clwyd Logistics, had his licence revoked for 12 months by North Western Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell.

Finnerty appeared before the TO at a Trafford disciplinary inquiry alongside Douglas Eckford, one of the drivers concerned.

Traffic examiner Geoffrey Whitley said that the company was involved in the transport and distribution of food products on behalf of Grampian Foods.

When he analysed 41 tachograph charts made out in Finnerty's name it was immediately obvious that they had been completed in various styles of handwriting. He suspected that a number of drivers were using Finnerty's name to disguise the fact that they were breaching the drivers' hours rules. When he compared the tachograph records with documentation obtained from Grampian Foods it became clear that Finnerty was involved in the falsification of tachograph records, he told the inquiry An examination of Eckford's tachograph charts showed that he had twice exceeded the daily driving limit, said Whitley. On one occasion he had used the ghost name of the company's managing director Gerald Williams. Whitley told Bell that driver James Guest had admitted handing charts into the office without entering his name, but he did not know who had put Finnerty's and Williams' names on the charts. Asked who he had spoken to at the depot when he was under pressure, Guest had replied: "It could be Gary or Gerald telling me over the phone that they needed the vehicle back."

When Finnerty was interviewed he could offer no reasonable explanation why a number of tachograph records in his name were not in his handwriting. He admitted telling Eckford to "do what he had to do" after he had called the office to say he was unable to make a drop within his permitted hours. Bell suspended Eckford's HGV licence for three months.

The other five drivers involved are to appear before Welsh IC David Dixon at a future date.

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