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Haulage firm boss banned for safety breaches

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

The director of a haulage firm with operations in Shropshire has been disqualified from the industry for two years after a regulator found that he encouraged drivers to commit offences.

Gurpreet Garcha was personally involved in the serious breaches committed by his drivers and chose to break the rules himself in order to make a lorry delivery on time, concluded Nick Denton, the Traffic Commissioner for the West Midlands.

He also ruled that Mr Garcha would be disqualified from acting as a transport manager for three years with immediate effect.

Mr Garcha will be disqualified from holding or obtaining an operator's licence on January 8 2017, when the company's two operator licences will also be revoked.

Mr Garcha is the owner of Steve's Transport Ltd of Sutton Coldfield. He stores his vehicles at Haughmond Hill Quarry, near Shrewsbury, and operates across the county.

The regulator said: "This is not one of those cases where an operator, through naivety, ignorance or incompetence was unaware of the offences its drivers were committing.

"In this case, the controlling mind of the company, director and transport manager Mr Garcha was instrumental in those offences, encouraging his drivers to commit them and structuring pay arrangements in such a way as to make them more likely to commit breaches."

The traffic commissioner added that Mr Garcha's company deserved to go out of business because it had been quite prepared to put profit before the law, risking the safety of other road users.

At a public inquiry held in Birmingham last month, Mr Garcha said he had not told his drivers to work more hours than they were legally allowed to, or to remove tachograph cards which record their duties and continue to drive.

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He admitted that he had taken out his own tachograph card while driving and continued to drive illegally. Mr Garcha said he would have missed a delivery if he had not done so.

Mr Garcha added that he had since attended a transport manager CPC refresher course and arranged for his drivers to receive tachograph training.

Seven of the company's drivers said they had been told by Mr Garcha either to work when they should have been taking a rest or had to take their card out and continue to drive without making a legal record of their work.

Mr Denton said: "It is not simply a matter of negligence but Mr Garcha's positive incitement of drivers to commit offences which makes the case so serious and which requires a significant period of disqualification."

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