Traffic commissioner (TC) for London and the South East Nick Denton has called on operators to overhaul their digital download practices or face the consequences.
The TC said there is no excuse for operators that have been stopped in enforcement checks or have previously come before the TC for failing to make the necessary improvements to their drivers’ hours checks.
His call for a culture change came after he suspended the London Borough of Croydon from operating for three days after it failed to carry out any downloads from vehicle units for 10 months, despite stating in 2014 that monthly downloads would be carried out.
In a separate public inquiry, the TC revoked an O-licence held by Faversham-based Macknade Fine Foods after it had failed to download any data from a vehicle’s tachograph unit since purchasing it in 2011. The issue was identified when one of its drivers was stopped by police in December, having committed serious daily and weekly rest offences.
By the time of the hearing last month the operator had only purchased, but not used, the downloading equipment. It will lose its O-licence from 23 May.
Denton said: “The cases concern two different operations but highlight that the standards are the same no matter what type of work you are involved in.
“I am concerned about the culture of downloading digital data across the industry and these two cases illustrate the problem. Both operators abandoned their responsibilities for considerable periods of time. Without carrying out downloads, how could they know whether drivers were working legally and safely?”
He said operators sometimes do not do anything with the downloaded data, such as analysing it for infringements or following up infringements with drivers.
“I would advise operators running vehicles fitted with digital tachographs to review their downloading practices to ensure downloads are carried out within the legal time limits and do the job that they are designed to do – identify drivers who exceed the driving limits and take action to ensure they don’t do it again,” Denton said.
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