Police disappointment at truck driver offending
Police say they are “disappointed” that lorry drivers are still committing driving offences such as not wearing seatbelts and using their mobiles at the wheel, following a road safety operation.
More than 80 HGV offences were committed by HGV drivers during a 10-day road safety operation in the North West.
Cheshire police’s commercial vehicle unit dealt with 72 drivers for various offences, including parking on the hard shoulder.
Officers found 10 drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel, 23 were found to be not in proper control of their vehicle, 36 were driving without wearing a seatbelt, two had stopped on the hard shoulder and there were 16 various other offences.
The North West Regional Commercial Vehicle Unit (NWCVU) relied on an unmarked HGV supplied by Highways England to gather video evidence and monitor driver behaviour.
PC Chris Buckley, of the NWCVU said: “While this was a successful operation it is disappointing that some lorry drivers are still committing driving offences.
“Lorry drivers should know that the law is in place to ensure the safety of not only themselves but other road users too.
- A recent High Court Judgement has clarified that using a mobile phone at the wheel is not an offence unless it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that the phone was being used for an “interactive telecommunications function”. It could mean that the law is rewritten following the case of Director of Public Prosecutions v Barreto, in which the police spotted the defendant filming with his mobile phone while driving past a crash.
Car breaker wins appeal
An appeal by a Scottish car and vehicle dismantling business against the revocation of its licence has been allowed, after the upper tribunal found that the traffic commissioner had “erred in law”.
Ace Car Disposal & Spares will now face another hearing which will decide the fate of its licence after the tribunal judge said it was not convinced the TC had acted fairly.
A restricted operator’s licence was granted to the company in 2017, with an undertaking that it provide financial evidence covering October, November and December 2017.
However, despite company director Louise McVay stating that TC correspondence should be sent to an address other than the only option provided to her when she applied for the licence, letters from the OTC repeatedly went to the application address and therefore astray.
In addition, McVay was on maternity leave during the period the TC was requesting the financial evidence, which limited her time in the office.
The financial standing records were later emailed to the TC, but they covered a different three month period than that requested.
Eventually, McVay provided the correct three months, but by that point the TC had revoked the licence.
The director appealed, on the grounds that bank statements were submitted – but just for the wrong period “because it was wrongly assumed the time period needed was the three most recent months.”
In a written appeal decision, Judge Anna Poole QC, said the appeal was allowed, albeit “narrowly”.
She said: “It is important that the TC is able to carry out statutory regulatory functions, and in order to do so must be able to correspond with licence holders effectively.
“The upper tribunal was unimpressed by [McVay’s] failures to respond to letters sent by the TC, some of which she accepted receiving, by sending the correct documents timeously.
“Nevertheless, the TC must act lawfully. The bundle of papers before the upper tribunal lacked relevant evidence establishing that the TC had done so.”
Judge Poole added that the company was not given the opportunity to request a PI before revocation and that there was evidence at the time of the application that the TC was told to post correspondence to a more reliable address.
“In the particular circumstances of this case, there was procedural unfairness,” she concluded.