Traffic commissioner Nick Denton found that Liam McGilloway, the director of Danson (Midlands) Ltd, failed to adhere to basic rules, resulting in an employee driving an articulated vehicle without the right driving qualification and a vehicle being used with all 10 wheel nuts loose on one of its wheels.
The company, which trades as Dansons Construction, counts Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Villa Football Club and AstraZeneca among its clients.
The industry regulator said that Liam McGilloway had shown ‘scant regard’ for the basic legal requirement of professional competence and assumed he could operate without a qualified transport manager.
“The public has a right to expect that a medium sized operator with a standard licence for 16 vehicles will have someone who is professionally competent overseeing operations and ensuring compliance,” Mr Denton remarked in a written decision issued after a public inquiry in Birmingham.
He concluded that the firm’s transport manager, John McGilloway – who did not attend the inquiry – was in effect an absentee, name-only transport manager.
“There is no evidence John McGilloway has ever exercised any of his functions or been present at the operator,” he noted. “I find that the operator has in practice been without a qualified transport manager for a considerable period of time, since at least March 2017.”
This led to a host of serious compliance problems, identified during investigations by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), in addition to the driver licensing issue and loose wheel nuts. The company had failed to download driver cards or vehicle units – a legal requirement that enables HGV operators to identify whether drivers are taking adequate breaks. One driver had recorded numerous instances of driving for more than 4.5 hours without the required break.
Addressing the loose wheel nuts at the public inquiry, Liam McGilloway said that he kept a mental record of wheels that had been removed, instead of using a proper ‘wheel off’ and torque register.
Mr Denton said the lack of proper records was ‘astonishing’ and noted that the driver failed to identify the loose wheel nuts before starting his journey, despite the fact that the wheel nut indicator device was severely distorted.
“Liam McGilloway has knowingly operated without professional competence, and the arrogant assumption that he was able to do this has brought about serious and dangerous non-compliance problems,” the regulator concluded.
The revocation of the company’s licence and the disqualification order against Mr McGilloway take effect on 8th January 2018.