Driver disqualified for a year for intimidating behaviour

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West Midlands Traffic Commissioner (TC), Nick Denton, has disqualified Michael Furnival of Ross-on-Wye from professional driving for 12 months.

Michael, 66, was at Newent Community School in Gloucestershire on July 4, 2017, when a traffic examiner from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) carried out a check on his driving licence.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) records indicated Michael’s PCV driving entitlement had expired on May 19, 2017. When the DVSA officer told him that he needed to make further enquiries with DVLA, Michael said he was driving off the school premises to have a cigarette.

The examiner said he should not drive away until the checks had been made. However, Michael did so with the DVSA officer on board. The examiner had to press the emergency exit button in order to leave the vehicle.

When Michael returned to the school, another DVSA examiner approached the vehicle but he was shouted at. Michael then drove off at speed, forcing the officer to step backwards.

Further evidence from a public liaison officer claimed Michael had sworn and been angry and abusive in two phone calls. As a result, he was called to a conduct hearing on February 22, 2018.

The DVSA traffic examiner told the regulator that subsequent investigations revealed Michael was entitled to drive a PCV. On the day of the agency’s encounter with Mr Furnival, the results of a medical test were being considered by the DVLA.

During his own evidence, Mr Furnival said he had given the DVSA examiner an opportunity to step off the bus before he drove away. He also claimed that the traffic examiner’s career was finished and subsequently left the conduct hearing, shouting that the TC could take his licence away.

In a written decision, the TC said Mr Furnival had displayed the same aggressive behaviour during the conduct hearing which had been described in DVSA’s reports.

“A professional PCV driver should engage with and co-operate with DVSA,” he added. “Michael chose the path of confrontation, driving off when had been told not to, and doing so with a DVSA traffic examiner on board, causing the latter to fear for his safety and the senior traffic examiner to call the police.”

He concluded that Michael’s conduct had been ‘bullying, threatening and wholly intemperate,’ falling far short of that expected of a professional driver.