Christopher Heydon, 49, of Market Street, Craven Arms, will be 70 by the time he is allowed to drive a commercial vehicle again after the traffic commissioner ruled he put lives at risk by helping fellow driver Jason Tehrane cover his tracks.
Tehrane was convicted of nine offences of knowingly making a false record in May 2016, following an investigation by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency – and used Heydon’s driver card to do so.
Not only is it illegal to use another driver’s card, but it was used to falsify records to hide the fact that Tehrane had been driving without taking the rests he was legally obliged to take to be safe.
Drivers must take a rest period within each period of 24 hours but it was found Tehrane was on duty for 85 hours straight for a time in May 2014 and had tried to cover this up.
Following a conduct hearing in Bristol, traffic commissioner Kevin Rooney said: “Tachographs record driving time and rest periods so that, as far as it is possible for legislation to achieve, drivers do not drive tired.
“Research shows that between one in five and one in six deaths on the extra-urban road network is caused by a driver who is asleep at the time.”
“A sleep-related vehicle crash is characterised as one where the driver had a clear view of the object being struck for at least seven seconds and took no avoiding action.
“The resulting collision will therefore be heavy, particularly when, as is the case with the vast majority of heavy commercial vehicles, the vehicle has cruise control and full speed is maintained until the point of impact.
“Sleep related vehicle crashes are particularly pronounced at certain times of the day, specifically early afternoon and the early hours of the morning, responding to the body’s circadian rhythms.”
He said the rules on taking rests mattered to as they helped directly tackle safety issues due to driver fatigue and also the temptation for haulage operators compete on the basis of pushing their employees to drive drive excessively.
He said in knowingly letting Tehrane use his card to cover his tracks, Heydon was putting lives at risk.
“Traffic commissioners regard the supply of a driver's card to be used by another as serious as the false record itself,” he said.
“The system of regulating drivers’ hours relies to a significant degree on trust and it is inescapable that Mr Heydon’s actions struck at the heart of that trust,” he said.
He added that Heydon’s failure to make himself available for interview or cooperate with the investigation was “not acceptable for a professional driver”.
Heydon’s vocational driving licence was revoked until June 2038.