Scotland business

Traffic commissioner: Wheel-loss lorry 'perched above A90'

A demolition company has been suspended from operating vehicles after one of its lorries was left "perched" on a flyover above the A90 when two rear wheels fell off.

A deputy traffic commissioner ruled that Chamic Demolition Services' conduct had been "seriously remiss".

An inspection later found that all 10 of the wheels' nuts were missing.

The suspension order will only be lifted when the Edinburgh-based company appoints a new transport manager.

Deputy traffic commissioner James Astle said the incident on 1 August 2012 had put the public at risk, and it was "but a matter of good fortune" that no one was seriously injured or killed.

The decision follows a public inquiry in Edinburgh into the wheel-loss incident, which occurred as the HGV driver was heading from his home in Dunfermline to the Avondale landfill site off the M9.

'Something amiss'

During the journey he felt "something was amiss" as he drove on a roundabout on the A904. He pulled up shortly afterwards.

Police attended the incident and managed traffic which was busy at the time.

A Vosa vehicle examiner who was called to the scene found the outer nearside rear wheel was entirely missing. The inner nearside rear wheel was jammed under the vehicle.

Mr Astle said the company was unable to produce evidence to prove the vehicle had been given routine safety inspections, as required.

It also had no formal driver defect reporting system in place, where employees are required to visually inspect vehicles for defects.

'Wake-up call'

Company director Michael Hunter told the commissioner he could not believe the vehicle had missed any inspections and explained improvements that had been made or were due to be introduced by the business, including on the issue of wheel security.

The company also admitted the incident had been a "massive wake-up call".

Mr Astle said the company's transport manager "failed to ensure the necessary systems for maintenance of vehicles" had been place and also "failed even to be aware of the extent to which there was such failure".

He disqualified him from acting as transport manager for a period of at least 12 months.

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