The result of being “Hazy about O licence Compliance”

In September 2015, Commercial Motor Magazine published this report, and we thought the wording of the Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton to be poignant, especially in light of the new Statutory Documents being released in January 2016: 

“South East and Metropolitan traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton suspended the O-licence held by Quality Foods from 8 to 26 September following a public inquiry. Quality Foods supermarket and its owners Arvind Sedani, Pius Sedani and Vipul Sedani will not be allowed to run any vehicles until next week after an investigation by the DVSA revealed a number of faults. The company had failed to check drivers’ hours and tachograph records and left excessive gaps between routine safety checks on vehicles.

Drivers had also committed weekly rest offences including failing to take two consecutive days off, and had neglected to identify numerous defects on vehicle safety inspection reports.

Premises in Ilford and Spitalfields were also identified that had not been approved by the TC. The investigation was initiated following a check of one of the partnership’s vehicles earlier this year. The inspection revealed tachograph charts that went back to April 2014 and therefore disregarded the legal requirement for used charts to be returned to the operator within 42 days.

TC Denton said that partners Arvind and Pius Sedani appeared to be “hazy on the details of some of the measures taken to address the non-compliance” and were “too ready to offer the traffic manager as a panacea rather than taking charge themselves”.

He noted that there had been no evidence of serious instances of driving over the drivers’ hours limits and that an outside body had been engaged to analyse driver records and produce reports about infringements.

A three week suspension was therefore deemed appropriate, though TC Denton said that the reoccurrence of the problems reported by the DVSA would most likely result in the O-licence being revoked. The public inquiry was held on 5 August and resulted in four undertakings being attached to the partnership’s licence:

  • at least two partners will attend an O-licence management course by 31 October this year. An independent audit of the operator’s systems for maintenance and drivers’ hours and the effectiveness of those systems will also be carried out before this date.
  • all drivers will attend CPC training modules which include driver walk round checks and the use of tachographs by 30 September.