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October 14, 2008

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Coach firm lied about drivers’ hours

A coach-hire company that falsified tachograph records, putting its drivers and other road users at risk, is to be put out of business after its appeal was thrown out.

At a public inquiry in April this year, the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland found that Browns of Edinburgh had lied and falsified tachograph records and drivers’ hours, breaching the European Working Time Directive.

Describing the case as “extremely serious, with the conduct causing grave risks to road safety and undermining the principles of fair competition”, the Commissioner disqualified the owner, Ronald Brown, from holding a public-service vehicle operator licence for four years.

The Transport Tribunal has now upheld the Commissioner’s ruling after the firm appealed the decision.

The Tribunal stated: “The Traffic Commissioner found that this was one of the most serious types of case that could come before a Traffic Commissioner, for the use of ‘ghost drivers’, missing mileage, and drivers’ hours offences struck at the heart of the regulatory system, which is there to promote and protect road safety and fair competition.”

Commenting on Ronald Brown’s disqualification, it added: “Even upon his own evidence, as the person responsible for supervising maintenance, he knew where his vehicles were at any given time, and he would also have been aware of the pressure being placed upon the drivers to ensure that the vehicles were back at base in Edinburgh in order to commence new work.”

The Tribunal confirmed the company will be put out of business from 8 November.

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