The Fire Engine That Was Not A Fire Engine Case


The police suggested that because our client didn’t have the correct licence to drive a fully functioning fire engine (Class C) he was not insured and was driving not in accordance with the correct licence, he was at risk of 6-8 points and a hefty fine…Read on….

Emma Says:

This was a long and drawn out battle to the bitter end! The primary lawyer was Louise Prout under the supervision of Emma Patterson.

The case involved what the Police believed to be a fully functioning fire engine weighing over 16,500kg. Class ‘C’ entitlement (LGV’S) is required to drive vehicles of this weight. As the driver of this particular vehicle only had Class ‘B’ entitlement, he was summonsed to Court for driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, as a direct result of which, he was also summonsed for driving without insurance.

It was argued that the fire engine was in fact a decommissioned engine used for demonstration and exhibition purposes only. On this basis it could be classed as a ‘mobile project vehicle’.

Paragraph 3 (Interpretations) of the Motor Vehicle (Driving Licence) Regulations 1999 states that a ‘Mobile Project Vehicle’ means ‘a vehicle which has a maximum authorised mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes, which is constructed or adapted to carry not more than 8 persons in addition to the driver and carries principally goods or burdens consisting of (a) play or educational equipment and articles required in connection with the use of such equipment, or; (b) articles required for the purposes of display or of an exhibition, and the primary purpose of which is used as a recreational, educational or instructional facility when stationary’.

Section 7(5) of the Motor Vehicle (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999 states that a person who: –

(a) Holds a relevant full licence authorising the driving of vehicles or a class included in category B other than vehicles in sub category B1 (Invalid Carriages),

(b) Has held that licence for an aggregate period of not less than 2 years

(c) Is aged 21 or over;

May, drive a ‘Mobile Project Vehicle’ on behalf of a non-commercial body

(i) To or from the place where the equipment it carries is to be or has been used, or the display or exhibition is to be or has been mounted, or;

(ii) To and from the place where a mechanical defect in the vehicle is to be or has been remedied.

As for the insurance, if the vehicle could be established as a ‘mobile project vehicle’, then under the terms of the policy in question, the insurance would be valid, as this type of vehicle could be driven under standard Class ‘B’ entitlement.

At Court, the vehicle was found to be a ‘mobile project vehicle’ and our client was acquitted of both allegations with costs being awarded in his favour.

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