Lochinver Haulier Operated With ‘Name Only’ TM For Over 10 Years

A TRAFFIC Examiner’s report which highlighted shortcomings in managing drivers’ hours has led to a five year disqualification for Samuel Hunter T/A Hunter Transport, operating from Culag Pier, Lairg.
Appearing before Scottish Traffic Commissioner Claire Gilmore at Public Inquiry, Mr Hunter heard that 245 offences had been identified over a period of around three months, including numerous and serious instances of driving off card and falsification of records by drivers who were found to be using other driver cards.
It was also alleged that Mr Hunter had operated vehicles in excess of the number which his licence authorised, had not been truthful with DVSA in the course of their investigation, had failed to notify convictions on the part of his employees and that he had operated for many years with a transport manager ‘in name only’ on his Operator’s Licence. At inquiry, Mr Hunter advised that he did not dispute the findings in DVSA’s report.
Evidence was also given concerning three of the operator’s drivers, Mr David Hunter (Samuel Hunter’s son), Mr Bowern and Mr Tarasinski. All three drivers attended conjoined driver conduct hearings for consideration of their fitness to hold their vocational entitlements following allegations that they had committed driver’s hours and/or falsification offences.
Mr David Hunter, the operator’s son, was a fairly new HGV driver, having only had his licence since 2019. There were no allegations of falsification on his part, but there were a series of minor drivers’ hours offences which he put down largely to ferry movements. TE Haddow advised at the hearing, that David Hunter had been convicted of using a mobile phone whilst driving his lorry in September 2021, an offence which the operator failed to notify the Scottish Traffic Office. David Hunter was undertaking his CPC qualification and intended taking over his father’s business as soon as he could.
Mr Bowern admitted that he had committed several drivers’ hours offences, including two incidences of driving without a card a result of stress and pressure. He also advised that in the three and a half years he had worked for Hunter Transport, he had never met the transport manager Mr McKay, who it transpired had resigned some time ago.
Mr Tarasinski’s evidence was that he was under pressure from the operator to make journeys in time. He had never met the transport manager either.
STC Claire Gilmore said that she considered revocation and disqualification amongst other serious regulatory sanctions at her disposal in dealing with Mr Hunter.
“I have decided that I can hold back, having regard to the few positives I have identified, from disqualifying this operator for an indefinite period. However, a lengthy period of disqualification is justified and proportionate in all the circumstances,” she decreed.

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