NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Fatal crash haulage firm told it cannot expand its fleet

Barry and Ann Copeland with their daughters Ciara and Niamh Image copyright Not specified
Image caption Barry Copeland's wife Ann and daughters Ciara and Niamh died in 2008

An Aberdeenshire haulage company blamed for a road crash that killed a mother and two children has been told it cannot expand its fleet of vehicles.

Ann Copeland, 45, Ciara, seven, and Niamh, 10, from Johnshaven, died after their car skidded on the A92 in 2008.

A fatal accident inquiry heard hydraulic oil probably leaked from a crane operated by Whyte Crane Hire.

In a separate incident the firm was fined £60,000 after a worker was injured.

Scotland's Traffic Commissioner has now ruled against a fleet expansion.

The FAI into the 2008 crash heard the tragedy could have been avoided had the vehicle been subject to more rigorous maintenance.

In 2013, the company was allowed to keep operating, as the Traffic Commissioner felt it would be disproportionate to put it out of business. A warning was issued.

In 2017, the firm was fined after one of its workers was seriously injured in an accident involving wind turbine components at Inverness Harbour two years earlier.

'Protect the public'

The Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Joan Aitken, has now ruled on an application from the operator to double its authorisation, from five to 10 vehicles and from seven to 15 trailers.

In a written ruling, she said: "I had some knowledge of this operator from a public inquiry of 2013, the background to which was the very distressing deaths of a mother and young daughters."

She said she now found herself also considering an incident from 2017.

A car driver narrowly missed serious injury when the wheel of the operator's vehicle came off and hit her car.

The commissioner said she had "considerable worry" about the case.

She ruled: "My prime duty is to protect the public. I am not going to disregard the danger faced by other motorists and road users.

"I will prevent expansion of this authorisation.

"I have concluded that the means by which I can put down a very severe marker to this operator is by denying expansion, denying the doubling of the authorisation."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites