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Freight firm bosses banned after unlicensed, uninsured driver killed cyclist

Firm owners "indirectly" caused Alan Neve's death, says Traffic Commissioner...

Freight operators Alan and Colin Drummond have been barred from running or managing trucks after one of their vehicles, driven by Barry Meyer, killed cyclist Alan Neve in July 2013.

Traffic Commissioner for London Nick Denton said that Alan and Colin Drummond indirectly caused the death of Alan Neve "by their own failure to fulfil one of the most basic responsibilities of an operator or transport manager – to ensure that a driver of one of their HGVs was qualified to drive it".

Meyer was jailed for three and a half years on May 14 for causing the death of Alan Neve in July 2013 by careless driving and driving while uninsured and unlicensed.

Meyer, who had been banned from driving five times and had two previous convictions for drunk driving, had jumped a red light as he tried to keep up with a colleague driving another truck in front of him.

In sentencing Meyer, Judge Daniel Worsley said the driver had "a sustained history of driving offences showing wretched disregard for the safety of road users."


Barry Meyer was driving the AJ Drummond truck that killed Alan Neve

At the original hearing, he told Meyer that he had a “shocking driving history”. The lorry driver only changed his plea once the judge said that his past record would be disclosed to the jury.

The company Meyer was driving for, AJ Drummond, was investigated by the Traffic Commissioner after Meyer had been sentenced.

Alan John Drummond and Colin Drummond were invited to a preliminary hearing on June 5, and to a public inquiry before the Traffic Commissioner on June 24, but failed to attend both hearings.

In a written statement Nick Denton explained that both transport managers had lost their good repute and both were disqualified with immediate effect and for an indefinite period of time.

Alan Drummond was disqualified from holding or obtaining any type of operator’s licence in any traffic area, or being the director of any company holding or obtaining such as licence.

Colin Drummond was disqualified from acting as a transport manager on any operator’s licence in any member state of the EU. Before he can act as a transport manager again he must appear before the Traffic Commissioner at a hearing in order to re-establish his repute.

The Commissioner went on to say in his written statement: "From the police evidence I have seen, which includes a transcript of an interview with Alan Drummond, I find that the operator wrongly took on trust Barry Meyer’s assurance that he possessed the correct driving entitlement and never bothered to check whether this was really so, even after Mr Meyer had “forgotten” to bring in his licence for checking, something which should have set off alarm bells.

"I find that, through their negligence, Alan and Colin Drummond allowed a person to drive a Heavy Goods Vehicle who should clearly not have been allowed to do so. The results were fatal.

"Both Alan and Colin Drummond have serious questions to answer about what system for checking driver entitlement they were operating at the time of Mr Meyer’s employment and about why that system, if they had one, failed.

"Instead, they have sought to evade their responsibilities by refusing to speak to DVSA examiners and refusing to attend the preliminary hearing and public inquiry.

"I note that the wish to surrender the licence (Alan Drummond) and the unbearable burden of other responsibilities (Colin Drummond) have both suddenly emerged in the last few weeks, after they received the call-up letters to the preliminary hearing and public inquiry.

"By contrast, they have had no apparent difficulty in continuing to operate over the past two years, since the fatality caused by Mr Meyer (and, indirectly, by their own failure to fulfil one of the most basic responsibilities of an operator or transport manager – to ensure that a driver of one of their HGVs was qualified to drive it).

"Four vehicles were operated by Mr Drummond right up to 6 May 2015, with the last vehicle being removed from the licence on 17 May 2015.

"Because neither man has attended the public inquiry today, they have been unable to present any mitigating factors which might argue against revocation of the licence and the disqualification of its holder and transport manager.

"My conclusion is that this licence must therefore be revoked and that the good repute of both Alan and Colin Drummond cannot survive such a basic failure to carry out their responsibilities as operator and transport manager and their refusal to be called to account."

The Drummond saga may not end there. According to the cycling charity CTC, in November 2014, a Hayley Caroline Drummond applied to set up a new operator, HCD London, based at an address near to that of AJ Drummond, which was granted in March 2015. CTC has alerted the Traffic Commissioner, so that he can investigate whether they are linked.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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