School driver penalised for mobile phone use

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The TC reasons reporting this story will serve as a warning to bus and coach drivers

Traffic Commissioner (TC) for Scotland, Joan Aitken has suspended the PCV licence entitlement of a Turriff school bus driver after he was convicted of driving a school bus while using a hand-held mobile phone.

Aitken called Grieg Elrick, who works for Kineil Coaches of Fraserburgh, to a driver conduct hearing earlier this month following his conviction at Aberdeen Sheriff Court in December where he was fined £500, with three points added to his licence.

Elrick was called before the TC last week and Aitken has suspended his driver licence for eight weeks, with effect from last Friday (January 13).

She heard Elrick was driving school children home from Old Meldrum Academy and was phoned by his employer’s depot manager who wanted the vehicle back at Fraserburgh after the school run. Elrick answered his phone and held it in his hand when driving.

Elrick, who also has a speeding conviction for driving his employer’s van at 73mph in a 60mph limit, was very apologetic about taking the phone call and assured the TC it would never happen again, apologising for the inconvenience and upset he had caused.

Aitken’s decision took account of Elrick’s previous good conduct and long years as a bus and coach driver. “He appeared to recognise the seriousness of his action in using a mobile phone whilst driving school children,” remarked Aitken.

The TC has, however, said she will seek an explanation as to why one of its drivers was phoned on a school run.

Aitken concluded: “Reporting the story should ‘serve as a warning’ to bus and coach drivers that they stand to lose their livelihood if they transgress the mobile phone laws and take or make calls when in control of a bus or coach, whether carrying passengers or not.”