Blackpool landau driver told 'don't use mobile phone while on the hoof'

A Blackpool driver has been punished for using a mobile phone – while in control of a horse drawn vehicle.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 4:27 pm

The wrongdoer was at the reins of one of Blackpool’s famous Cinderella carriages when they were caught looking at their screen while driving passengers along the Promenade.

They claimed to have been checking the time for the next change-over of horses.

A council enforcement officer, who was on duty monitoring Blackpool’s landau fleet, spotted the transgression last October.

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Councillors revoked the landau driver's licence

After being hauled before councillors for the offence, plus two other transgressions of not having the proper lights on and switching lanes suddenly at a junction, the driver had their licence suspended for four weeks.

The driver has not been named with the hearing held behind closed doors, but details of the offences emerged in the minutes of the council’s public protection sub-committee held on January 18.

Licensing enforcement officer Ryan Ratcliffe said on October 26 last year, the driver was seen using the wrong lane on the Promenade while approaching the junction with Chapel Street “causing vehicles to brake when cutting into the left lane to continue straight on”.

The minutes of the meeting add when a public protection officer approached the carriage, he saw the driver “was holding a mobile phone and looking at the screen whilst driving.”

Solicitor Allan Cobain, who represented the landau handler at the hearing, said his client “admitted having their mobile phone in their hand to look at the screen”.

However the minutes add the “sub-committee was informed that this was to briefly check the time due to an imminent changeover of horses and that it was not being used for calling or texting.”

A lack of familiarity with the vehicle was blamed for not having the side lights on although the Cinderella dome was lit up, while the failure to pull into the correct lane quickly enough had not caused other vehicles to brake sharply as claimed.

Members of the sub-committee said they were concerned passengers were being carried at the time of all three offences and the driver’s “actions had potentially caused public safety concerns.”

But they recognised the handler’s inexperience and remorse.

It was agreed to impose a four week suspension of the horse drawn hackney carriage driver’s licence, with a warning “that in the event of any future incidents the licence may be revoked.”

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