A deputy traffic commissioner (TC) has found that limitations in its drivers' hours analysis system meant that DHL Express (UK) was not to blame for failing to notice that six drivers had created false tachograph records.
Some 253 false drivers’ hours records, committed by six agency drivers who worked on a double-manned route between DHL Express (UK)'s operating centre in Bellshill and East Midlands Airport, were discovered by the DVSA last year.
The drivers were employed by agency Global Logistics, and were contracted to work a 16-hour shift. They were issued with timesheets that they were required to complete in order to get paid.
The examiners found the start and finish times on the timesheets did not correspond with what the tachograph records claimed.
At a public inquiry (PI) last year, for which a decision has recently been issued, it emerged the drivers’ hours compliance system the firm was using had limitations in analysing double-manned journeys. It would recognise a double-manned journey if two driver cards had been inserted in the vehicle unit and if driver cards had been changed, but would not detect if a driver card had been removed over the course of the journey.
The company said it was unsure why drivers had chosen to delay the insertion of their cards into the second slot of the vehicle unit, when on most occasions there was no apparent reason to do so.
Scotland's deputy TC Richard McFarlane found there would have been nothing in the reports to alert former transport manager Henry Dorricott about any shortcomings in drivers’ hours recording on the route.They were only found by a different system used by the DVSA.
All six drivers have since been blacklisted from working for any DHL company; compliance systems have been improved; and better lines of communication between all levels of management have been put into place. It has also introduced a new tachograph analysis system.
The deputy TC determined that the timesheets could not be regarded as a true picture of the hours worked.
McFarlane said: “I am not persuaded that the six drivers or any of them were not involved in a scam to hide the hours by falsifying their records. Discrepancies between the analysed raw data and the timesheets are explained by drivers maximising their claims for pay.”
McFarlane took no action against the company and Dorricott.
He said, aside from the former drivers’ hours analysis system, DHL Express (UK) had appropriate systems in place to ensure proper records were kept.