The regional traffic commissioner, who regulates the heavy goods industry, said that Peters Brothers Ltd had insufficient management of compliance within the company.
Richard Turfitt, traffic commissioner for the east of England, also concluded that Peters Brothers had been “too slow” to implement changes following safety issues reported by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
In evidence to the inquiry, a DVSA vehicle examiner reported several shortcomings in the company’s operation of vehicles, including that:
- regular safety inspections were not carried out on time
- rectification work for defects identified by drivers was not recorded
- a vehicle was issued with a safety critical prohibition notice for an excessively worn steering relay arm pivot
- a driver was issued with a £100 fixed penalty for an insecure load
- the operator was convicted and fined £800 for using a vehicle in excess of its authorisation
- the MOT pass rate was poor.
The traffic commissioner curtailed the company’s licence from 23:59 on 21st March for one week – following a public inquiry on the same day – and ruled the operator’s repute had been tarnished. He indicated that, while other operators might consider that to be lenient, he took into account the impact on the business of his refusal to grant an increase in authority despite the commercial needs of the operator.
The traffic commissioner heard that while the company had made some apparent improvements in the maintenance, the number of MOT test failures and advisory matters still needed to be addressed.
The business was also given a two month period of grace to find a new transport manager after Gerald Peters indicated his intention to retire prior to the hearing. He subsequently accepted a personal undertaking not to rely on his acquired rights certificate.