Driver’s licence refused after Timperley crash

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The driver cannot obtain a PSV licence but will be eligible for a HGV licence from October

A bus driver found guilty of dangerous driving after his vehicle collided with a railway level crossing barrier has had his professional driving licence refused indefinitely.

Savvas Kotsinis was told by the Deputy North West of England Traffic Commissioner, Simon Evans, he was not fit to hold vocational licences to drive buses or coaches.

The ruling comes after the conclusion of a conduct hearing, on July 3, 2013, into an application for his professional licences to be reinstated. The Deputy TC said he was not confident Mr Kotsinis had a true insight into the ‘seriously faulty driving decisions’ he had made on the day of the incident.

The driver was convicted on August 10, 2011 after pleading guilty. He was given a suspended prison sentence, required to complete unpaid work and was disqualified from holding a driving licence for 18 months.

Mr Kotsinis passed that test on April 18, 2013, after his disqualification expired on February 9. Mr Evans opened a conduct hearing on February 9 but adjourned the case because he did not have enough information about Mr Kotsinis’ offence.

On July 3, the hearing reconvened, where the Deputy TC examined evidence from Greater Manchester Police, a statement from Mr Kotsinis, a reference from a driver recruitment agency and a letter from the accountant for a business owned by Mr Kotsinis.

Mr Evans also heard evidence from the driver himself.

He told Mr Evans that on the day of the incident, he had not heard the alarm and did not see any flashing lights at the level crossing.

Crown Prosecution Service records revealed the bus Mr Kotsinis was driving had between 10 and 12 passengers on board. It approached the Navigation Road level crossing in Timperley, when the traffic lights were flashing red and the barrier alarm was sounding.

The prosecution case indicated that Mr Kotsinis drove through the level crossing as the barriers were descending, which resulted in the nearside barrier smashing through a window on the bus.

Asked by the Deputy TC what he had done wrong, Mr Kotsinis said he needed to be more observant.

After considering all the evidence, Mr Evans noted the incident was a matter of considerable seriousness, where both passengers carried and the wider travelling public were placed in danger.

The Deputy TC outlined the statutory definition of dangerous driving, and placed emphasis on the standards required of those individuals who are employed professionally to drive.

“My expectation is professional drivers with vocational entitlement are expected to operate to the higher standard of conduct. Here the actions of Mr Kotsinis fell below those standards.”

Mr Evans said he judged the public would have no confidence in Mr Kotsinis driving buses or coaches in particular. The orders made mean Savvas Kotsinis cannot drive passenger carrying vehicles indefinitely.

The Deputy TC also made a ruling on the application from Mr Kostinis for his HGV driving licence entitlement to be reinstated. Mr Evans found that it was appropriate to refuse his application for a short period, after considering that he would not be unfit, in the long term, to drive large goods vehicles.