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21-day ban for truck driver using mobile phone while driving

  • 11 February 2014
  • By Roger Brown

Deputy Traffic commissioner (TC) for Scotland Richard McFarlane has suspended a truck driver from driving HGVs for 21 days after he used a mobile phone while driving.

Following a driver conduct hearing in Edinburgh that finished in December, the deputy TC told Gary Lynn, of Coatbridge, that the order would run from 31 January.

During the hearing, McFarlane heard from two Police Scotland officers who had been on mobile patrol on Riverside Drive, Dundee in June 2013 and spotted Lynn driving.

The officers said he was holding a black item near to the front of his face and talking on it as he approached the junction with South Marketgait. They saw him driving using the device for approximately 300m to 400m before stopping him at a set of traffic lights.

One of the officers subsequently issued Lynn with a fixed penalty of £60.

In evidence to the deputy TC, Lynn explained that he was required to make contact with people at his destinations before arriving to discuss unloading. He told deputy TC McFarlane that he was on such a call at the time of the police encounter, using a Bluetooth device to communicate.

According to Lynn, the device had been attached to the sun visor but had fallen during the conversation. He continued using the phone and attempted to reattach it to the visor.

The police officers also observed Lynn switching the device from one hand to another.
In his written decision following the hearing, the deputy TC said the offence had taken place at a busy junction, and that this was one of the aggravating factors in the case.

Lynn was driving a vehicle fitted with a manual gearbox and would have had to change gears several times as he executed some of the turns – all while holding the device.

Deputy TC McFarlane added: “On any view he could not be properly in control of the vehicle at that part of the journey, or indeed any part of the journey, when he was holding/using the device.”

The deputy TC also noted two speeding offences on his licence, which was endorsed with nine points at the time of the hearing, and said this was “not impressive for a professional driver” .

He concluded: “I cannot overstate my concerns about drivers of any vehicle using such devices. If one is holding such a device while driving, clearly one is not control of the vehicle. I am in no doubt that the use of such devices significantly compromises road safety, and their use in such circumstances must be discouraged.

“The TC for Scotland [Joan Aitken] and her colleagues have been at pains to highlight the dangers of using hand-held devices while driving.

“In the interests of road safety, the use of such devices must cease.”

The deputy TC said that if a driver is holding such a device while driving, he or she is clearly not in control of the vehicle.


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