Judge jails lorry driver over tachograph offences
A judge has warned that tired truck drivers could kill other road users as he jailed a lorry driver who failed to take proper breaks.
Andrew Clorley, 48, from Penley, near Wrexham, admitted fiddling tachograph records on 11 occasions by using a sheet in the name of another driver.
Clorley drove a 44-tonne articulated lorry loaded with chipboard to south Wales, Mold Crown Court was told.
Clorley who traded as A Clorley Transport, was jailed for 30 weeks.
The court heard that the truck driver was in financial difficulties and was at the wheel, clearly tired, to earn more money.
The prosecution said that when he ran out of permitted hours he would swap the sheet in the tachograph machine with others marked in the name of a former employee, Eric Groves.
An investigation by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) found that Mr Groves was not working for Clorley at the time of the offences and was, in fact, out of the country.
Clorley had on seven occasions driven more than 13 hours a day when the limit was nine, and he also did not take the required daily rests. On one of the days he had driven 14 hours and 12 minutes.
Judge Rhys Rowlands said Clorley was driving along a difficult road, over long distances, in an articulated truck and that created a very real danger.
If drivers were tired and their vehicles were involved in an accident then the consequences could be fatal.
"On seven occasions you drove more than 13 hours when the regulations stipulate that it should be no more than nine hours," said the judge.
"You were behind the wheel of a very large vehicle, driving long distances around Wales, when it would have been unsafe for you to have been driving," he continued.
"Owners who flout the regulations almost inevitably had to be dealt with by immediate custodial sentences," said the judge.
James Cullen, defending, said that his client had at the time been £72,000 in debt. He was still working for his own company and he feared that if he was jailed he would lose the business and his home.
"He is very sorry. He knew what he was doing was wrong," said Mr Cullen.