...and for loose wheelnuts
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I Andover Magistrates granted Kenneth Howley Transport an
absolute discharge, after the company admitted using a dangerous vehicle. It claimed the problem was part of the lost wheels mystery.
The court heard that a Leyland two-axled rigid belonging to the Castleford-based company had been stopped in a ministry check on the A34 at Sutton Scotney last September.
An examination of the vehicle revealed that three out of 10 wheelnuts on the offside rear wheel were so loose that they were about to fall off.
Managing director Kenneth Howley said that all the company's drivers attended an induction course when they first joined the company and were instructed to carry out daily checks of their vehicles, including a visual check of the
wheelnuts. In addition, said Howley, they were instructed to physically check the tightness of the wheelnuts once a week.
A torque wrench was available for checking wheelnuts and each driver was provided with a bar. The wheelnuts of the vehicle concerned had last been physically checked the previous week; the tachograph chart showed that the vehicle had travelled 3301cm that day before being stopped in the check.
Consultant engineer Roderick Bennett said that experience had shown that wheel detachments happened very rapidly. It was inconceivable that the wheelnuts had been loose when the vehicle started its journey: the failure must have occurred en route, Defending, Gary Hodgson said that it was now accepted that there
was something that was called "the lost wheels mystery". There was continuing research into the problem and the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee was also looking at the phenomenon. The company had done everything reasonably possible to prevent such a problem, said Hodgson. If the magistrates were satisfied that the company had not been negligent, and was morally blameless, then it was entitled loan absolute discharge.
The magistrates ordered the company to pay £35 costs.