One of Scotland’s biggest demolition firms has had its O-licence curtailed for six months after it failed to inform the traffic commissioner (TC) about the appointment of a director or his criminal record.
Central Demolition in Bonnybridge operated 29 HGVs with 30 authorised on its O-licence, but this margin has been removed after TC Joan Aitken heard how director Colin Peat drove a golf buggy while drunk on a main road leading to a motorway.
The TC said she took “the very dimmest view” that her office was not notified that Peat had been appointed a director of the firm.
In an incident described as “grossly irresponsible” by the courts, the director was present at a charity golf event at Glenbervie Golf Club last year when he took a buggy and, accompanied by two other males, drove it along the road until he was stopped by police at around midnight.
Peat also had a previous conviction for drink-driving and had been disqualified three times.
In evidence, Central Demolition’s other director Ross Craig admitted that failing to inform the TC of Peat’s appointment in 2002 was a “serious omission” but that it was not deliberate and he had failed to read the licence checklists properly before signing them.
However, he pointed out that Peat had nothing to do with trucks and his responsibilities lay in finding work and surveying.
Peat told the TC he was embarrassed by the golf buggy incident and regretted what he had done, but that he hadn’t realised it was a road traffic offence.
Aitken said: “Taking the buggy could have had catastrophic consequences for him and his fellow pranksters as well as other road users who came across them.”
She added: “He has had problems with alcohol and he has problems of judgment. It is interesting to me that the most serious convictions against the company have derived from inadequate appreciation of the precise nature of the demolition environment and the surveying side of the business, and not the transportation side.
“Had Mr Peat any involvement on the transport side of this company’s organisation I would have had to think about revocation as he appears to be deeply flawed when it comes to road safety and the imposition of personal disciplines. I am sorry that he is remaining as a director.”
She went on to describe Craig as a serious man with a commitment to the transport side of the business.
“He and his team on that side have achieved a performance record that, all else being equal, would most certainly have greatly pleased me.”
The TC said she would not end the public inquiry with a warning as she wanted to put down a marker in relation to the previous convictions: “That said, I do not want to put this company out of business, for that would be disproportionate, so I do not have to move to revocation or suspension of the licence,” she added.
“That the curtailment is not greater is down to the impression I took of Mr Craig at the inquiry.”
- This article was published in Commercial Motor's 16 June issue. Why not subscribe today?