Ebdons Tours O-licence is suspended

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The company was slow to correct issues with loose wheel nuts
The company was slow to correct issues with loose wheel nuts

A Transport Manager has been warned that his repute is unlikely to survive another appearance at Public Inquiry (PI) after he was reported for neglecting his O-licence duties and disqualified from carrying out MOTs.

Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton told Peter Lewis, a partner of Ebdons Tours, that his repute had been ‘battered’ by the evidence presented at the PI in Eastbourne.

The TC also suspended the operator’s eight vehicle O-licence for 10 days. The TC heard that Peter Lewis had been disqualified from carrying out tests by the DVSA after lending his MOT tester’s card.

A Vehicle Examiner from the agency also found O-licence shortcomings, including the issue of two S-marked prohibitions (denoting significant failures of maintenance) in July 2013 for loose wheel nuts (which also resulted in a fixed penalty notice) and a tyre defect.

During the inquiry, Nick Denton reviewed the Examiner’s report into maintenance standards, finding that the shortcomings were similar to those picked up at two previous DVSA visits in 2009.

The issue of prohibitions and a poor MOT record continued to be a problem. In addition, preventative maintenance inspection sheets were missing and ‘not used in an intelligent fashion.’

The periodic safety inspections were also picking up points such as broken mirrors and light bulbs which should have been spotted on a daily basis by drivers checking their vehicles, and rectified immediately. The operator had failed to respond quickly to both the S-marked prohibitions and the subsequent DVSA inspection in September 2013. At the time of the visit, the operator had no processes in place for wheel nut monitoring.

New systems and procedures were only implemented on February 1, 2014, over four months after the DVSA visit. The operator subsequently produced the missing PMI records.

The partners had also engaged an external company to advise on better compliance and offered to undertake audits.

Reviewing the evidence, the TC made an order to suspend the licence from 00:01 on March 10 to 23:59 on March 19. He also recorded three undertakings on the licence, one of which was for an independent audit to be carried out by August 31.

Peter Lewis is also required to attend a Transport Manager CPC refresher course by April 30.