Jail for distracted trucker who killed two

A lorry driver who crashed into a school mini bus after checking Facebook on his mobile phone, has been jailed for killing a boy and his teaching assistant.

James Majury, 33, was sentenced to eight years and 10 months after pleading guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and a further five counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Preston Crown Court heard how Majury drove his 19-tonne Mercedes HGV into the

back of a school mini bus at around 50mph, resulting in the deaths of 14-year-old Joe Cairns and teaching assistant Anne Kerr, 50.

Judge Robert Altham said: “The reason James Majury didn’t see the obvious minibus and its precious occupants in front of him is because he prioritised checking Facebook over the safety of anyone on the road that day.”

Five others suffered multiple serious injuries in the seven-car collision on the M58 close to junction 3 at Bickerstaffe.

Majury reacted less than a second before the collision, hitting the stationary Vauxhall Vivaro mini bus, containing Cairns and Kerr, who died at the scene on 8 January 2019.

Inspector Claire Pearson from Lancashire Road Policing Unit said: “Joe and Anne’s families can’t bring their loved ones back but what they have asked is that people listen to what has happened here and learn that it is never safe to use a phone whilst you’re driving.”

Restricted operators must demonstrate their limitations

O-licence

Restricted licence holders should review their operations and ensure they are complying with the rules, following a spate of PIs in which traffic commissioners took firms to task.

A restricted licence only allows you to carry your own goods on your own account, for your own purposes.

You do not have to satisfy the requirement of professional competence to obtain a restricted licence and the rates of financial standing are less.

Scott Bell, solicitor at Backhouse Jones, said he thought TCs were increasingly focusing their attention on this type of licence holder.

He said: “The big question is that the transport element must be no more than ancillary to the overall operation of your business.

“And this is where we are finding people getting caught out.

“I have had a number of incidences during lockdown of restricted HGV operators being asked this question by TCs.

“It’s predominantly the case where you are in waste and you are not doing anything with that waste.”

Bell explained: “If you are picking up the waste from point ‘A’ and taking it to point ‘B’ for disposal, you may have some problems operating under a restricted licence, because it looks like hire and reward work.”

Bell advised concerned operators to review their position: “If you are a skip wagon business, for example, it might be the case that to fall within the exemption you have to have a waste processing licence; you bring the skip back to your operating centre or waste transfer centre and sort the waste into different skips.”