A transport manager has lost his repute indefinitely for failing to make sure his drivers had started their Driver CPC training, resulting in high levels of drivers' hours infringements.

Addressing a seminar at the Tip-ex and Tank-ex 2014 exhibition in Harrogate, North East of England traffic commissioner Kevin Rooney (pictured) said he had also curtailed the operator's licence from 22 to 11 trucks for two weeks so the drivers could be taken off the road and get their Driver CPC training.

"At at public inquiry three weeks ago the transport manager had done nothing on Driver CPC so I curtailed the licence and disqualified the transport manager indefinitely," said Rooney. "The lack of training had led to the drivers' hours infringements."

Rooney said it was unacceptable for transport managers to expect drivers to do the Driver CPC training in their own time.

In 2013, 127 transport managers lost their repute and 16 had their competence withdrawn, effectively disqualifying them from working as a transport manager for a given period, until they had fulfilled the conditions imposed by the TC or in the worst cases indefinitely.

Rooney also questioned the adherence of many operators to six-weekly periodic maintenance inspections (PMIs), when in many cases this could be extended to eight or even 12 weeks, or should be cut to shorter intervals for very arduous operations. Referring to guidance on PMIs contained in the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness recently published by the DVSA, Rooney  said it was up to the operator to determine the appropriate interval between inspections, based on the condition of the vehicles found at the PMI and in the driver daily defect report.

"Just write to your TC and inform them what PMI interval you are using and it will go on your record in Leeds," said Rooney. "Only if it is over 13 weeks will it be queried."

To make it easier for operators to stick to the agreed PMI interval, the traffic commissioners are now accepting that the inspection can be carried out at any time within the week it was due, using the internationally agreed ISO 8601 week numbering system. "So on six weekly inspections, for example, the PMI can happen any time in that week," he said. "That does not mean inspections can creep out to six weeks and six days, just as long as it happens some time that week."

Rooney also reminded operators that the Guide required proper brake testing of trailers at least once a quarter, and this should be done with a roller brake tester. He cited one large fleet with over 100 vehicles that had spent £1.5m on new trailers. "When I asked the fleet engineer how he tested the brakes he said he dropped the red line and dragged them across the yard to see how many black lines they left," said Rooney. "I and any of my colleagues would take a dim view of this. You must do proper trailer brake testing."

Another issue that Rooney said was under review was the problem of UK hauliers collecting foreign trailers from docks, which could be in a poor state of repair.

"If you drag them onto UK roads you are responsible," he said. "We want to do something about that."

Steve Brougham, DVSA area manager for the North West, told the seminar that there were 432 privately owned  authorised testing facilities (ATFs) in the UK, and they now carry out 80% of commercial vehicle annual tests. "The target is 90% by the end of the financial year," he added.

Brougham said there had been several "misconceptions" surrounding the testing of hazardous goods vehicles, and contrary to many people's belief most ATFs could test these vehicles. "We have devised a very simple algorithm on how to test dangerous goods vehicles," he said. "Most can be tested by most ATFs."

Reviewing the roadworthiness statistics for GB tippers and tankers, Brougham said that between April 2013 and February 2014, the DVSA had inspected 4,395 tippers and issued prohibitions to 2,099 of them - 48% of the vehicles inspected. The two major sources of defects were tyres (582) and brakes (426). Of the 254 tankers inspected, 93 or 37% were issued with prohibitions. Again tyres and brakes were the main types of defects.

The DVSA is also starting to enforce the Driver CPC regulations, though numbers of enforcement actions remain small compared with the thousands of drivers believed to be driving illegally without the Initial Driver CPC. Although drivers who acquired their LGV licence before September 2009 have until September this year to obtain their Periodic Driver CPC, new drivers who took their test after September 2009 should have obtained their Driver CPC with their LGV licence. In the last 12 months, the DVSA recorded 204 Driver CPC offences at the roadside, of which 110 resulted in a fixed penalty. Of those just 51 were to LGV drivers, with the remainder going to passenger vehicle drivers.

Mark Davies, a solicitor with transport law specialists Backhouse Jones, said that poor maintenance was most frequent cause for operators to called to a public inquiry by a traffic commissioner. He reminder transport managers that they not their maintenance provider were responsible for the condition of  vehicles on their O-licence, and failure to fulfill this duty could lead to loss of repute, fines or even prison.

Davies pointed out that failures of the annual test went against the O-licence not against the maintenance provider and that could affect the Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS) which the DVSA uses to target vehicles for roadside inspection. "Operators are often astonished when they see the poor pass rate on their vehicles," he said. "Too many maintenance providers put vehicles in for test, see what it fails on and then do the rectification work. It is the operator's obligation to see that this isn't happening."

For all the presentations in the compliance session click here Compliance day 1