A HGV driver who failed to take proper breaks due to pressure from his “rogue trader” employers has been fined.
Craig Harrison drove for hours longer that he was supposed to, putting other road users at risk, Kirklees magistrates were told.
He was under pressure to get from A to B as quickly as possible - and then sacked by his bosses the day after he was pulled over at Ainley Top for offending.
The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to five offences of knowingly making a false tachograph record.
Magistrates were told that Harrison was driving an 18 tonne vehicle and had to by law record the times driven so that his working hours could be monitored.
Drivers have to insert their cards into a slot in the tachograph device inside the vehicle which holds data of how long they have been driving for.
For every four-and-a-half hours driven they must take a break for 45 minutes.
Harrison was pulled over at Ainley Top on November 20 and checks on the vehicle were carried out.
This showed that after four hours and 25 minutes he had withdrawn his card and continued to drive.
There were other times when he had driven for longer than he should have, the most serious being on September 6 when he drove for four-and-a-half hours and then continued on for another three hours without a break.
Laura Newton, prosecuting on behalf of the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency, said: “As a matter of public safety we need to make sure that drivers are rested and that the public are protected.
“He said that he panicked and pulled his card knowing that he was going over his hours. This was due to traffic issues and work-related pressures.”
Due to his offending Harrison will now have to go before the Traffic Commissioner to see if he is still fit and proper to hold a licence, magistrates were told.
Sonia Kidd, mitigating, said that her client had been working as a driver for 22 years.
She said: “As a result of rogue operators who want to cut hours the demands are on him to get to locations and there’s unrealistic expectations.
“They wanted him there at a particular time, were on the phone to him saying ‘where are you?’ and there was constant pressure for him.
“He has felt that in order to comply with what his employers wanted him to do he’s had to undertake what he’s done and there’s been times when he’s gone well over his allowed times.
“It’s accepted that he should have stopped and had a break but because of pressures he’s continued to drive.
“As soon as he was pulled over he lost his employment and he’s the one who has suffered the consequences.”
Magistrates fined Harrison, of West Cottages in Bridlington, £200. He will also have to pay £300 prosecution costs and £30 victim surcharge.