AWL Minicoaches loses licence

Glasgow-based AWL Minicoaches has had its operator licence revoked after DVLA discovered longstanding maintenance defects.

Alan Laughlin, owner of AWL Minicoaches, is disqualified from holding or obtaining an operator’s licence in Great Britain for a period of five years. The company’s Transport Manager, Thomas Walker, no longer satisfies the requirements of good repute and is disqualified for a period of six months from engaging in the role of Transport Manager in any Member State.

Evidence gathered by a DVLA inspector was that the defects found on Mr Laughlin’s vehicles were serious, obvious and likely longstanding. The inspection regime was not sufficiently rigorous, and defects found were not being repaired timeously. There was no maintenance contract between Mr Laughlin and the provider he was using at the time of the inspection and Mr Laughlin had not notified his change of maintenance provider to my office as he should have done.

At the time of the enquiry, the operator was unable to meet financial standing, which Laughlin explained was due to his having to spend significant sums on repairs for the vehicles. However, Traffic Commissioner, Claire Gilmore, said many of the defects found at inspection were longstanding and therefore indicative of sustained neglect. She concluded that Laughlin was aware that his vehicles were not in a fit and serviceable condition and chose, for a considerable period, to do nothing about it.

Transport Manager, Thomas Walker, received a six month disqualification from the position and is required to do a two-day CPC refresher course as a rehabilitation measure. The disqualification is shortened due to the mitigating circumstances of illness and his difficult personal circumstances. The Traffic Commissioner found that those difficulties had rendered him less able assert his authority with Mr Laughlin when things started to go wrong. Claire Gilmore said: “Notwithstanding that, there is little doubt that Mr Walker’s failure to properly carry out his duties put road safety at risk.”

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