TC Kevin Rooney revokes and disqualifies to safeguard the public following continued concern over poor maintenance and company-wide shortcomingsFareham-based Victory Travel and its sole Director Paul Donald were disqualified indefinitely from holding or obtaining a PSV O-Licence after Traffic Commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney immediately revoked the company’s six-vehicle licence. He also disqualified Mr Donald indefinitely from acting as a Transport Manager (TM). The company attended a PI in 2014 where they were granted a licence for six vehicles, rather than the requested eightThe company, of Cranleigh Road, Fareham, failed to attend a Bristol Public Inquiry (PI).In his decision the TC said that the company had previously attended a PI relating to a variation application in 2014, when he granted authority for six vehicles rather than the eight vehicles requested. At the same time, he revoked the licence of Vision Coaches, of which Mr Donald was the Director.DVSA had carried out a series of maintenance investigations. The first was in June 2015. Two prohibitions were issued, inspection intervals had been exceeded, and some records were missing. No brake tests were recorded and no effective quality system was in place. The company had major shortcomings across every area, and the drivers’ hours’ systems were found sadly wanting by the TEA follow-up maintenance investigation took place in September 2016. The majority of the shortcomings identified in June 2015 were still evident – of concern was that a condition on the licence for alternative safety inspections to be conducted by an independent contractor was no longer being complied with. In parallel, DVSA became aware that a vehicle lost a nearside outer wheel while travelling northbound on the M3 on 26 November 2016. A further investigation identified that the company had been in the habit of checking the wheelnuts but to a torque setting of 700Nm.The manufacturer’s specification was for wheelnuts to be tightened to 600 Nm. The company had disposed of the subject hub and wheel studs so no further investigation was possible. Driver defect reporting had, in the vehicle examiner’s words, “appeared to have fallen by the wayside in the middle of 2016”.On 16 September 2016, a DVSA traffic examiner (TE) conducted an audit of the company’s traffic management systems. The outcome was unsatisfactory. The findings were highly relevant in relation to Mr Donald’s repute as a TM. He noted in particular that the TE reported that the digital tachograph data files showed that a vehicle had not been downloaded since April 2015 and five drivers had not had their driver cards downloaded within the specified 28 days, with times varying between 56 and 373 days. On 11 January, PC Michael Goddard of Greater Manchester Police notified the Office of the Senior Traffic Commissioner that, on 7 January, a vehicle had dropped off Crystal Palace football supporters in Bolton Town Centre ahead of an FA Cup tie. That was contrary to an industry-wide set of guidelines designed to reduce the risk of violence at football matches.This was a case where one individual was the company and it was appropriate to pierce the corporate veil. The company had major shortcomings across every area, and the drivers’ hours systems were found sadly wanting by the TE. He commented that no single person within the company has responsibility for ensuring that the downloads were completed. That might be how it appeared but it was not correct. The TM was responsible, plain and simple. He had also failed to ensure that vehicles were inspected on time, had discontinued the external audit inspections without agreement and had allowed the driver defect reporting system to fall in to misuse. Given that the company disposed of the evidence, the TM was culpable for the loss of a wheel from a coach on the M3 in November 2016 because he had allowed the wheelnuts to be over-tightened on a systemic basis. The loss of a commercial vehicle wheel at motorway speeds could have a devastating effect. The breadth and seriousness of the shortcomings, affecting all management systems and producing potentially lethal results, meant that Victory Travel and Paul Donald had each forfeited their good repute and that more than just mere revocation was necessary to safeguard public safety.