Bristol

Coach driver with kids in luggage compartment banned

South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach Company Ltd
Image caption The hearing was told Richard Short drove for South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach Company Ltd

A coach driver who let school children travel in the luggage compartment has been banned from professional driving.

A Traffic Commissioner hearing was told Richard Short, 49, allowed children in the luggage hold twice on 12 June.

On the second occasion, he drove with seven children in the hold in what was described as a "unforgiveable and highly reckless act".

In his defence, Short described the act as a "moment of madness".

'Wind the driver up'

The hearing was told he drove children between Bath and Keynsham for South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach Company Ltd.

A number of the children were "very demanding" and saw the service as "wind the driver up day", the hearing was told.

One child, described as the "ringleader", wanted to travel in the luggage compartment.

At the time, Mr Short, from Yate in South Gloucestershire, had been suffering stress in his personal life and had asked for time off but this had been refused due to a shortage of drivers.

Traffic Commissioner Kevin Rooney said there might be some mitigation for the morning incident and he might have made a finding of negligence.

"Repeating the action in the afternoon is, though, an unforgiveable and highly reckless act, made worse still by the obviously busy traffic."

Mr Rooney said Short "clearly poses an unacceptably high risk in the transportation of children".

"I find that his actions were as a result of him carrying children who clearly induced him to lose his professionalism.

"No such similar situation is likely to arise in the carriage of goods and I do not find it necessary to refuse the application for provisional large goods vehicle entitlement."

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