An executive at one of Britain’s biggest privately-owned hotel chains avoided a motoring ban after claiming he had to drive his children to their private school. Ruaridh Macdonald, deputy chief executive of Macdonald Hotels, admitted driving without due care and consideration after he crashed while overtaking on the A9 in Scotland. The 41-year-old already had six points on his licence, Perth Sheriff Court heard, and was facing another six, which would have triggered an automatic ban. But his solicitor argued that the father of three needed to drive his children from his home in the town of Auchterarder to their private school in Strathallan, Perthshire. There was no public transport, he said. “He is separated and has three children,” John Scott, representing Macdonald, told the court. “He has them every second weekend and one night a week. “They go to school at Strathallan and he tells me there is no alternative means of public transport – he picks them up and drops them off at school. His immediate concern regarding his precarious position is for provision of childcare.” He added that the Macdonald chain of 45 hotels has properties as far afield as Scotland and Portugal, and that in his role, Mr Macdonald travelled between them frequently. Strathallan School, about 11 miles from Macdonald’s home, charges £21,114 a year for senior day pupils and £13,848 for juniors. There is no alternative means of public transport – he picks them up and drops them off at schoolJohn Scott, representing Macdonald in court The Macdonald hotel chain now employees 4,000 peopleCredit:Instagram Macdonald heads the Macdonald hotel chain with his father Donald, who founded the business in 1990 and planned to run just two hotels in Aberdeenshire. The chain now has 4,500 rooms and 4,000 members of staff. Depute fiscal Robbie Brown told the court: “The accused came out at what is a fairly straight bit of road and it appears to have been a misjudgement in time and speed. “His car came off worse than the complainer’s – as he started to come back in he clipped the wing mirror of the vehicle he was overtaking. The other car had a small scuff.” Mr Scott said the hotel boss was the one who had reported the crash to police and his own car suffered £4,000 of damage. He said: “It was a stretch of road where overtaking is permitted and from dashcam footage it does look like the other vehicle moved over, so it may have been that there would have been no contact at all if not for that.” The crash happened on the A9 at Bankfoot, in PerthshireThe court heard he crossed onto the opposing carriageway into the face of oncoming traffic, causing a Nissan Note to take evasive action, and attempting to return to the correct side of the road before it was unsafe to do so, colliding with a Volkswagen Golf. In imposing five penalty points, Sheriff Gillian Wade allowed Macdonald to keep his licence but warned him one further conviction would see him banned from the roads. She also fined him £1,200. Macdonald admitted driving without due care and consideration for other road users by executing an overtaking manoeuvre on the A9 at Bankfoot when it was not safe to do so. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
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