It is not as if the Traffic Commissioners have not made clear their intention to crack down on drivers caught using their phones at the wheel (see Drivers can’t say that they weren’t warned and Commissioners’ mobile phone warning).
However, the message didn’t get through to Nel Owen who crashed her lorry into a car injuring a woman and her two children.
Ms Owen had been using not one but two mobile phones during her journey. She had also been speeding and eventually pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at Mold Crown Court resulting in a disqualification from driving any form of motorised vehicle until 18 October 2018.
Ms Owen then applied to the Traffic Commissioner for restoration of her vocational heavy goods vehicle entitlement at the end of the disqualification period and was called to attend a conduct hearing.
Nick Jones, the Traffic Commissioner for Wales, said that high standards are expected from professional drivers and that she had demonstrated a lack of regard for basic road safety.
He also pointed out that there was no evidence of any acceptance that her driving had been unacceptably poor over a sustained period of time, highlighting that she had been caught speeding in a lorry on three separate occasions and had twice been caught using a mobile phone while driving a large vehicle.
“While the older offences are relatively stale,” Mr Jones said, “they are relevant to rebut assertions made by and on behalf of Nel Owen that the appalling driving which led to the prison sentence was not an isolated incident of unacceptable driving.”
He concluded that it would be in the interests of the safety of road users that she be prevented from driving goods vehicles for a very long period — and disqualified her from holding or applying for any vocational entitlement for a period of 10 years from the date of restoration of her ordinary driving licence.