Pilot caught doing 90mph in roadworks keeps driving licence

Officers are investigating vehicle break-ins in Grangemouth and Bonnybridge
Officers are investigating vehicle break-ins in Grangemouth and Bonnybridge

A pilot clocked driving through roadworks at nearly twice the speed limit has been shown mercy and allowed to avoid a ban so he can keep his job.

A court was told yesterday that Ewan Stewart would have been sacked by the airline he works for if he was to be disqualified from driving.

His solicitor told Perth Sheriff Court that Stewart’s contract stated that he had to be able to get to Edinburgh Airport within 90 minutes of being called in.

And she said that there was no way he would be able to react in time and get to the airport in time from his home in Kinross if he was banned and had to rely on public transport.

Sheriff William Wood showed Stewart mercy and told him he would not be banned from the road. He imposed nine penalty points and fined the pilot £1400.

He said: “It is a high speed but I am prepared not to disqualify him. Clearly you appreciate the seriousness of it and the consequences for your employment if you are disqualified and I have taken that into account.

“You were nearly twice the speed limit at the time. You would not have known what was ahead or if there were workers in the road.

“It would be open to me to exercise my discretion and disqualify you. I will impose a substantial fine to deter you from offending in this way in future.”

Stewart was facing a charge of driving dangerously and at excessive speed but admitted an alternative charge of speeding at 89 miles per hour on May 28 this year.

The northbound stretch of the M90 Edinburgh to Perth motorway, at the junction 
between Fruix and Kinross, had been restricted to 50 mph because of ongoing roadworks.

Fiscal depute Lisa Marshall told the court that the 29-year-old was spotted driving way in excess of the speed limit by police officers who were on a mobile patrol at the time. Traffic was heavy during the early afternoon incident.

Solicitor Victoria Stronach, defending, said Stewart had been used to so many roadworks signs driving back and forward to the airport on the busy motorway that he had not noted the new roadwork warning signs.

She said: “He accepts what he did was wrong. He is a pilot and one of his terms of employment is that he has to be able to get to the airport within 90 minutes when he is on standby.

“Flights often leave and return at odd times of the day or night when no train or bus service is available.

“There is no way he can get there in 90 minutes on public transport.

“The airline also operate a strict flying and rest-time schedule and travelling by public transport would affect the time he has to rest. That would give the airline concerns about fatigue if he does not complete his rest time.”

The airline Stewart works for was not named.