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Operator faces two-year ban for tachograph offences

27th July 2006, Page 33
27th July 2006
Page 33
Page 33, 27th July 2006 — Operator faces two-year ban for tachograph offences
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

A couple chose to attend a wedding rather than a disciplinary inquiry.

AN INTERNATIONAL operator who sent last-minute excuses to a disciplinary inquiry because she was attending a wedding has been banned from holding or obtaining an 0-licence in any traffic area for two years.

Yvonne Whitson, trading as Pentland International Transport of Dalkeith, had her 0-licence revoked after numerous breaches of the drivers' hours and tachograph regulations. Her husband Peter, who was her transport manager, was disqualified for a year after the Traffic Commissioner described him as a "reckless and potentially dangerous individual".

The couple failed to appear at an Edinburgh disciplinary inquiry. Two days earlier they had requested an adjournment because they were going to a wedding. Proceeding in their absence, Scottish 'cc Joan Aitken said she regarded it as 'unacceptable' that they should excuse themselves at 48 hours' notice on the grounds of a wedding invitation.

Traffic examiner James Sweetin said that in November a vehicle driven by Peter Whitson was stopped in a check at Livingston and given a prohibition notice for failing to take sufficient daily rest. Other offences identified on the charts included seven daily rest offences,one of excessive daily driving, two of exceeding four and a half hours' driving without the required break and three charts showing the speed limiter was not functioning.

Three requests for the production of tachograph charts for April to October had been ignored while maintenance records Peter Whitson said he would deliver to Livingston never arrived.

Revealing analysis An analysis of 115 tachograph records revealed seven false records, 11 four-and-a-half-hour driving offences,19 of insufficient daily rest,12 of exceeding the daily driving limit,seven of failing to take a weekly rest,misuse of the mode switch and 65 charts showing the speed limiter was inoperative. On sonic charts speeds exceeded l(X)km an hour, yet the speed limiter appeared to function when the vehicle was presented to the maintenance contractor. It appeared that the speed limiter was disabled on the Continent but used in this country. There was missing or unaccounted mileage of 2,749km. Whitson had worked 12 consecutive days without taking a weekly rest period. He had taken as little as one hour 56 minutes of rest in a 24-hour period.The other failures were also for significant periods and not just minutes.

llieTC. said it was evident Peter Whitson had driven the vehicle having deliberately disabled the speed limiter. The breaches of the drivers' hours and tachograph rules were not marginal ones. There was a consistent and deliberate disregard of the rules to such an extent that road safety was imperilled.

Revoking Peter Whitson's LGV driving licence and disqualifying him from holding such a licence for a year, the TC said he was a reckless and potentially dangerous individual who had put his own income ahead of concern for the safety of others and the industry. •

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