5,560 fines for hours
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• Three Somerset lorry drivers, and their employer Glastonburybased Gerald and Suzanne Cox, were ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £5,560 after admitting a series of breaches of the drivers' hours and tachograph rules when they appeared before the Wells magistrates.
Brian Cook, of Brutton, was fined a total of £1,000 and ordered to pay £60 prosecution costs, after he pleaded guilty to 10 offences of exceeding the hours' limits and taking insufficient rest.
Philip Wynd, of Barton St David, Somerton, was fined a total of £320, and ordered to pay £24 prosecution costs, after pleading guilty to two offences of exceeding the daily driving limit, one offence of taking insufficient daily rest and one offence of driving for 4 1/2 hours without taking the required amount of break.
Robert Wilkins, of Walton, near Street, was fined a total of J:300, and ordered to pay £18 prosecution costs, after pleading guilty to one offence of exceeding the daily driving limit, one offence of taking insufficient weekly rest and one offence of driving for more than 4 1/2 hours without taking the required break.
Gerald and Suzanne Cox each pleaded guilty to permitting the offences by the drivers and to seven offences of failing to secure the return of tachograph charts from drivers within 21 days. Mr Cox was fined a total of £1,955 and Mrs Cox a total of £1,610.
They were each also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £136.50.
Prosecuting for the DOT, Edward Lyons said the offences came to light after one of Cox's vehicles was stopped at a check in Hampshire, last September. A traffic examiner noticed apparent offences on the charts produced by the driver and the partners were subsequently asked to produce their tachograph records. An analysis of those records revealed the offences committed by the three men.
Cox said that the offences had been caused by a sudden influx of business and he had not wanted to let customers down.
Defending, William Bartlett said that it was very difficult for drivers to comply with the regulations, particularly on occasions when they were carrying livestock.