Friday, December 21, 2012

Road Haulage Swindle Exposed in Crackdown as Financial Pressure on Freight Groups Increases

Prison Sentence for Latest Offender Caught Cheating
Shipping News Feature

UK – As the economic situation bites the temptation for cutting corners, and indeed the commission of outright fraud, increases and the freight industry is certainly not new to offences such as cube cutting and the recent road tolls swindle. Tachograph fraud is a subject we have touched on previously and now the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has welcomed the news that Richard Samuel Dewart, owner of Northern Ireland-based Dewart Transport has been convicted of forgery and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for 3 years, at Craigavon Crown Court.

In February of last year, the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) conducted a joint enforcement operation with the Driver & Vehicle Agency that included the examination of vehicles owned by Dewart Transport. A number of trucks were seized on the grounds that tachograph interrupter devices had been installed which, if activated, had the capability of disabling the tachograph and the speed limiter, numerous tachograph records and various documents were also seized.

Detailed examination identified instances where rest periods had been recorded by the tachograph recording equipment, yet other evidence showed the continued movement of the vehicles. In these instances it was proven that an interrupter device had been activated to enable the driver to continue driving by simulating that the vehicle was stationary and, as a result, false tachograph records were created. RHA Chief Executive Geoff Dunning said:

“We have been campaigning hard to see this issue addressed for a number of reasons. Not only does it bring the reputation of the industry and its workforce into disrepute, it places the driver of the vehicle and other roads users, including pedestrians, at risk.

“Falsifying driving records is planned in advance and is one of the most serious offences in road haulage. Drivers and their employers do it because they can carry on driving for far longer than permitted under EU safety rules, which are designed to protect themselves and others. Not only are they are putting lives at risk, they are undermining the livelihoods of drivers who comply with the law. For that reason, the Road Haulage Association considers that the only effective deterrent for such an office is a custodial sentence”.