23rd Jul, 2017

Droitwich lorry driver handed ban for falsifying records

Lorna Morris 14th Jul, 2017

A LORRY driver from Droitwich has been suspended for knowingly making false driving records.

Richard Whitehouse, of Elizabeth Avenue, was suspended from professional driving for 14 weeks from July 1 following the investigation by the Traffic Commissioner.

Industry regulator Kevin Rooney made the order against the 51-year-old who was convicted of four offences of knowingly making or using a false record on April 26, 2016.

Three other offences were taken into account which occurred in April, May and June 2014.

Whitehouse was driving a vehicle fitted with an analogue tachograph and all the offences relate to missing mileage of ten to 15km.

He was among five drivers from Bristol, Leicester, Oswestry and Gretton who were caught hiding the true facts of their driving.

The drivers’ hours and tachograph rules are designed to prevent drivers from working whilst tired.

They also set a context for competition between hauliers, and therefore drivers, by specifying maximum driving periods and minimum rest periods.

The rules mean that operators and drivers cannot compete on the basis of driving excessively.

At the hearing Whitehouse was represented by solicitor Rebecca Stanton who said the driver’s hours offences happened three years ago and ‘were technically spent’ although it was accepted the traffic commissioner could take the relevant evidence into account.

At the time he was the primary bread-winner in the household and was fearful of what might come from the hearing.

And she added the three years had given the driver time to reflect upon his actions and the employer had addressed the underlying issues by fitting all vehicles with digital tachographs.

Mr Rooney, Traffic Commissioner for the West of England, said: “The system of regulating drivers’ hours relies to a significant degree on trust and it is inescapable that the drivers’ actions struck at the heart of that trust.”

He added research showed between one in five and one in six deaths on the extra-urban road network were caused by a driver asleep at the time.