The director of an Inverurie haulage company drove an HGV despite not holding Class C entitlements, an Aberdeen public inquiry (PI) has heard.
The deputy traffic commissioner (TC) for Scotland, Hugh Olson, said Alan Whiteford, trading as Alan Whiteford Contracts, had shown “a shocking disregard for the safety of other road users” after his vehicle was pulled over during a routine vehicle check and the offence discovered.
The operator, which held a licence for 11 vehicles and six trailers running out of two depots in Monymusk and Oldmeldrum, was questioned by police following the incident and he admitted that his HGV licence had been removed by the DVLA.
Whiteford had suffered a stroke and he was supposed to wait at least 12 months before he could reapply for his licence.
A number of drivers’ hours offences were also identified as having been committed by the director over a 2-week period and ranged from between 6 hours’ and 9.5 hours’ driving without taking a break.
Whiteford accepted he should not have been driving, but he said he had only driven the lorry on one occasion and it was because he was short of staff.
Whiteford also said his daughter, the firm’s transport manager, was not aware of what he had done as she was on annual leave at the time.
Deputy TC Olson said: “The problem is the very serious conduct of Mr Whiteford in June and July of last year.
“He drove an HGV when he had been told by the DVLA that he was not fit to do so. Mr Whiteford may have believed that he was fit to drive; however, that was not his decision to make.
“If Mr Whiteford disagreed with the decision, he could have either appealed the decision, or he could have produced evidence to the DVLA to seek to persuade them to change their mind. What he could not do was flout the DVLA’s decision and decide to drive an HGV because it was, in his opinion, necessary for him to do so in order to benefit his business.”
Olson revoked the licence, but because he found that Whiteford’s daughter and son, who maintained the vehicles, were innocent, he allowed enough time for them to wind the business down and apply for a new licence without their father’s involvement in the new operation.