Haulage firm punished over breach of rules on drivers’ working hours

Peter Colby of Peter Colby Commercials.

Peter Colby of Peter Colby Commercials. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

An East Anglian haulage operator has had its authorisation reduced from 37 vehicles to just four after being found to have breached regulations relating drivers’ working hours.

Peter Colby Commercials, part of Norwich-based St Vincent Holdings, was called by the East of England Traffic Commissioner to appear before a public inquiry last month following a vehicle inspection carried by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) last June.

The lorry was stopped for inspection at a DVSA facility on the A14 at Elmswell, between Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds, while on a journey from the Port of Felixstowe to a delivery in Soham, Cambridgeshire. As a result of the initial findings, a DVSA officer also subsequently visited the company’s offices.

A decision by deputy traffic commissioner Marcia Davis, which has just been released, states that records for the driver of the vehicle “revealed breaches of the drivers’ hours rules, which are designed to prevent drivers from working too many hours and suffering from fatigue”.

The DVSA officer also reported a number of other issues to the Traffic Commissioner’s office, including the checks being made on vehicle and driver records.

After hearing evidence from the company at the public inquiry, the deputy commissioner has entered a formal finding that its reputation has been “severely tarnished”.

The company’s vehicle authorisation in the East of England has been reduced from 37 to four “as deterrent action against further non compliance” although its trailer authorisation remains at 12. In addition, the company has also been given a formal warning in relation to its operating licence in the London and South East region.

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Peter Colby, owner of St Vincent Holdings, said: “It was an unfortunate incident. The driver has been driving since the age of 18 and is now over 60. He is a good driver and is still in my employment but infringements should not happen again.”

Mr Colby added that the curtailment of the licence would have no effect as the business was currently only operating two vehicles.

St Vincent Holdings features in the EADT/EDP Top 100 listing of Suffolk and Norfolk’s 100 largest companies and also has interests distribution and property.