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In all of the HGV driving schools around the UK, students are taught to obey safety regulations at all costs. But for Drywall Steel Sections Ltd. owner Rajinder Gupta, safety regulations were something to be ignored. Now his company has been banned from operating HGVs in England, Scotland, and Wales for at least nine years.

The ruling came after a lengthy investigation that originally started when one of Gupta’s drivers was pulled over and found to be driving an HGV without a proper licence. Following that incident, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) dug a bit deeper, only to find more violations.

Drywall Steel Sections Ltd. was cited for more than 320 offences among its entire crew of drivers. Offences included not taking proper rest breaks, exceeding total number of hours allowed, and falsifying driver records. One particular driver, accused of record falsification, claimed during the inquiry he was instructed to do so by Gupta. He also told investigators that he never received any HGV training.

West Midlands Traffic Commissioner Nick Jones said some of the blame lies at the feet of the drivers themselves. However, most of it goes straight to Mr Gupta who, Jones claims, was the driving force behind most of the violations. Jones conceded that the vast majority of HGV drivers in the UK are good people who do everything they can to play by the rules.

It is unfortunate that Gupta and Drywall Steel Sections Ltd. have both been able to prosper while running afoul of the law. It will be interesting to see if another haulage company agrees to provide transport services to Gupta’s business. While some might be willing if the price is right, others may prefer to steer clear of the company and Mr Gupta.

Here at the HGV Training Centre, we are happy the violations were discovered but certainly displeased they ever happened to begin with. Safety regulations exist to prevent accidents and injuries among all drivers on the road – not just HGV drivers. When those regulations are skirted, the potential for serious consequences rises significantly.

At all of our HGV driving schools, we stress the need for drivers to follow safety regulations at all times. We make sure all those going through our classes understand that the regulations are not to be taken lightly. Neither are they in place just to give drivers a hard time. When a student graduates from our classes and passes his or her practical skills test, he or she is fully prepared to operate heavy commercial vehicles safely and legally.

It is our hope that the general public does not view these types of incidents as the normal mode of operation for the industry. Unfortunately, we hear much of the negative news regarding HGV drivers but very few good reports. Nonetheless, a legion of responsible drivers criss-crosses the UK on a daily basis, underpinning the nation’s economy in the process. The vast majority of them do excellent work.

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