Miss Lowra’s Law 4 Lorries – Falsifying Tachograph Records

Something informative for you to browse through during this week. Keep coming back if you want to read a bit more, as I know some of you weren’t impressed with the lack of photo’s in this feature, but all I can say is tough. This stuff will help you out, so it’s up to you. The help comes in the form of transport law solicitor Laura Hadzik (twitter: @LittleMissLowra), from Manchester solicitors JMW. Laura specialises solely in road transport law and regulation, good news for you lot!

Scania R730

11 HGV Drivers Lose Their Vocational Driving Entitlements
For Falsifying Tachograph Records

Scottish Traffic Commissioner, Joan Aitken, has revoked the vocational driving entitlements of 11 HGV drivers who worked for Boyle Transport Limited (“the Company”), one of Northern Ireland’s largest haulage companies, for falsifying tachograph records.  One driver has been disqualified from holding, or obtaining, a vocational driving entitlement indefinitely and the others for between 18 months and 3 years. This follows Operation Cadillac, one of the largest ever joint investigations by Cumbria’s Road Policing Unit and VOSA, which began in October 2008 when 8 of the Company’s vehicles were stopped in Cumbria on a journey from Glasgow.  5 of the vehicles were seized and found to have modified wiring systems and further investigations revealed that each had had their tachograph equipment interfered with.  This led to the seizure of a further 7 of the Company’s vehicles and a search warrant being executed on the Company’s offices in Newry.  Each digital tachograph owned by the Company had been interfered with and the Company’s drivers had been driving for up to 22 hours per day (up to 12 hours longer than the law permits) and failing to take the minimum required breaks and rest periods.

On 18 February 2011:

  • Patrick James Boyle, 65, and his son, Mark Anthony Boyle, 36, directors of the Company, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to create false tachograph records, admitting that they manipulated and encouraged 15 of the Company’s drivers to falsify their tachograph records.  They were sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court to 2 years’ and 18 months’ imprisonment, respectively, and both were disqualified from acting as a company director, which includes having any management position within a company, for 5 years;
  • 15 of the Company’s drivers received suspended custodial sentences and orders to carry out unpaid work after pleading guilty to creating false tachograph records.  During sentencing, the Court made it clear that, had it not been for the drivers’ assistance of the prosecution, the starting point for their sentences would have been 12 months in custody.

The legislation imposes maximum permitted driving periods and minimum break and rest requirements to protect road safety and provide a level playing field for operators.  False tachograph records (which, at the lesser end of the scale, prevent enforcement authorities from establishing whether or not the particular driver has complied with the driver’s hours and tachograph rules, and, at their most serious, will have been created with the express intention of hiding breaches of the driver’s hours and tachograph rules), are therefore viewed by VOSA, the Police and the Traffic Commissioners as extremely serious! Drivers who falsify their tachograph records will be prosecuted and called before the Traffic Commissioner for regulatory action to be taken against their vocational driving entitlement.   Operators whose drivers flout the rules, or who encourage their drivers to falsify their tachograph records, will also face prosecution and regulatory action being taken against their Operator’s Licence by the Traffic Commissioner.

For passionate and pragmatic assistance, advice and representation in relation to false tachograph records or any other aspect of road transport law, contact Laura Hadzik, a Solicitor specialising in road transport law at JMW Solicitors LLP, on 0161 828 1849 or email her at laura.hadzik@jmw.co.uk

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