A senior experienced councillor who joined a virtual council meeting while driving a lorry has been blasted for putting himself and other road users in a ‘dangerous situation’.
Councillor David Brown – who held the tourism, arts and culture brief on Boston Borough Council – appeared at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, September 9 from the cab of his moving vehicle.
His dangerous actions have been captured in a video which shows him driving while using a device to connect to the meeting and has sparked outrage.
He is seen looking at the screen and adjusting it on several occasions as he drives and at one point even takes his hand off the wheel to wave at the device to show his attendance when he discovers his microphone is muted.
He drove for at least 20 minutes before disappearing from sight – and then reappeared on the screen for the rest of the meeting after he seemingly parked up.
Now he has quit his senior job with the council and the matter is being investigated by Lincolnshire Police and the council.
Cllr Brown, from Sutterton, has today, September 11, issued this statement: ‘I have notified the leader of the council that I have resigned my portfolio responsibilities with immediate effect.
Councillor David Brown has resigned from his post after he joined a virtual Boston Borough Council meeting while driving a lorry for at least 20 minutes
‘With hindsight, I shouldn’t have joined the meeting whilst driving and I will cooperate fully with any investigation.’
He remains a serving councillor representing Kirton & Frampton ward.
The county’s top traffic official has criticised his actions.
John Siddle, from Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, said: ‘It is clearly an unsafe practice. He should not be conducting any long phone call let alone a video conference.
‘He is seen adjusting the device so he can be seen by the other councillors.
Cllr Brown has been blasted for joining the Zoom meeting while driving his lorry. The matter is being investigated by Lincolnshire Police and the council
‘If anything had happened in the split second he was distracted he would be wholly culpable, not forgetting that the rules around HGV drivers using phones have increased penalties because of the potential damage they can cause.
‘He should have been fully aware that he placed himself and other road users in a dangerous situation.’
Opposition councillor Peter Watson, who has been involved in driver training for 16 years, said: ‘Operating any additional device while driving creates driver distraction from safely operating the controls.
‘Doing this while driving an HGV can easily cause an accident which can lease to serious consequences and even the death of innocent people.
‘This does include hands-free devices. A driver has the lives of other drivers and passengers on the road in their hands.’
The law on using phones behind the wheel
It’s illegal to hold a mobile phone or a sat nav while driving or riding a motorcycle. Motorists must have a hands-free device such as a bluetooth headset or a windscreen mount.
The device should not block your view of the road or traffic in any way. Police have the right to stop any driver they think is not in control and can prosecute them.
The law also applies when motorists are stopped at traffic lights, queuing in traffic or supervising a learner driver.
It’s only permitted to use a mobile phone when you’re safely parked, you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.
Motorists can get six penalty points and a £200 fine if they are caught using a hand-held phone while driving. They will also lose their licence if they’ve passed their driving test in the last two years.
Failing to have full view of the road and traffic ahead or proper control of the vehicle can result in three penalty points.
Drivers can also be taken to court where they can be banned from driving or riding and get a maximum fine of £1,000 (£2,500 if you’re driving a lorry or bus).
Source: UK government