Bus Issues – Stagecoach Devon Ltd

Our ref: HSR/2/7
Head Office Circular: NP/225/22
18th October 2022
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


An incident occurred on 5th October 2019 when a double decker bus left the road and came to a stop in a field on its side. There were 37 casualties of which 10 were serious. The driver was not a regular driver and he was only 19 years old at the time. The route in question was in excess of 50 km and drivers under the 21 are disqualified from driving routes in-service of that length. However, the route had been registered as a split service to avoid the need to comply with the EU drivers’ hours and tachograph rules following an indication from the Department of Transport in 2008 that such an approach was acceptable in that context.

The driver was charged with ten offences of causing serious injury through dangerous driving but those charges were dropped at court and he was convicted in July 2021 of one single offence of careless driving. The Traffic Commissioner was concerned that the operator, Stagecoach Devon Ltd, may have operated a service in a manner dangerous to the public and may have allowed that service to be driven by a disqualified driver.

Following publication of a Written Decision by the Traffic Commissioner, your National Executive Committee, at its meeting on 13th October 2022, noted and adopted the following report from its Health and Safety Sub-committee:

We note the Traffic Commissioner’s Written Decision and that his findings include that that the operator (Stagecoach Devon Ltd) failed to comply with its own procedures and so allowed in to service a driver, vehicle and route combination that would not meet its own standard criteria and was proven to be dangerous by the casualty outcome; further, that, more likely than not, the operator ran a service that was dangerous to the public. This finding was made because it failed to comply with its own driver training procedures.

The General Secretary is instructed to share this information with relevant members via the usual channels including the RMT website and an article in “RMT News”. The General Secretary is further instructed share with other relevant bodies and to update the RMT Bus Workers’ Handbook accordingly.

Relevant Branches and Regional Councils to be notified.

I am acting in accordance with these instructions. Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary