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An Oban livestock haulier who knowingly broke the law to make false records of his driving duties has been disqualified from running and driving HGVs for four years.
Industry regulator Joan Aitken said Donald Mackay, 44, of Kilmore, had been the author of his own misfortune and that his actions had undermined safe and fair haulage.
In a written judgement issued after a public inquiry in Edinburgh last month, Ms Aitken concluded that it had suited Mackay financially and commercially to make false records and extend his hours.
HGV drivers are required, by law, to take certain rests and breaks so they are not affected by fatigue while driving.
During the inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner heard that Mackay had been using another driver’s card, as well as his own, to record duties that he was undertaking.
When government inspectors analysed the driver cards after stopping Mackay at the roadside in August 2016, they found 57 infringements between February 8, 2014, and July 30, 2016, 25 of which were very serious and a threat to road safety.
Mackay told the regulator that it was difficult to get drivers for double-manning, where duties are shared to ensure drivers’ hours rules are met. He added that livestock haulage was a competitive industry and that is why he took advantage of the other driver’s card.
However, the Traffic Commissioner rejected those arguments.
‘Islands haulage and livestock haulage do not require dishonesty,’ she remarked. ‘They require proper organisation and being unafraid to say no to customers from time to time.
‘Patently Mr Mackay wanted to keep the work and to see off his competitors. Thus he undermined safe and fair haulage.
‘I do not expect any operator licensed by my office to take on work if that work cannot be done lawfully.’
She also reflected on the need for livestock hauliers to be particularly safe because driver misjudgement through fatigue could be catastrophic for the animals.
Mr Mackay’s disqualificationd as an operator, transport manager and professional driver began on July 1 and will run for four years.