The owner of a haulage company and a mechanic have been jailed after a 32-tonne tipper truck sped out of control down a hill due to faulty brakes in February 2015, resulting in the death of four people, including a four year old girl.
Owner of the Haulage Company; Matthew Gordon and mechanic Peter Wood were convicted of four counts of manslaughter.A key partner during the investigation was The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency who revealed that the company had defied regulations to ensure public safety due to vehicles being classed as roadworthy, regardless of the longstanding faults. The condition of the brakes at the time of the incident were found to be totally inadequate with an efficiency of just 28%. Grittenham Haulage also failed to have a Transport Manager in place in the months following up to the tragic incident.
Post hearing senior investigating officer Rich Ocane commented:
“Our investigation revealed a shocking picture of a company culture with complete disregard of safety and maintenance. This was a company with a very casual attitude towards safety. If there is a message which needs to come from this it is that company owners must adhere to a duty of care to the public. The public have an expectation to trust that businesses ensure they are operating safely. Regular maintenance and servicing of all vehicles is vital.”
DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn said:
“It is the responsibility of drivers and operators to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy at all times, anyone who fails to do so is putting themselves and others at risk.”
Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at RoSPA commented:
“This case shows the devastating human cost of organisations not meeting their duty of care, with four lives lost and many more irrevocably changed.”
The devastating incident in Bath demonstrates the sheer importance of ensuring duty of care is met and vehicle checks are regularly conducted to ensure safety of both driver and the public.
The DVSA states that daily walk around checks must be completed by HGV drivers or operators before using the vehicles as part of an overall maintenance programme to maintain driver and operator road safety standards. Had these guidelines been followed such tragic incident may have been prevented.
Crystal Ball’s Award-Winning SmartCam solution provides paperless vehicle checks among much other functionality. This particular feature allows fleet operators to meet their duty of care and ensure vehicles are roadworthy and operating safely.
With the ability to upload bespoke checklists, fleet operators can ensure all aspects of safety and maintenance is included and specific to the vehicle type. Checklists can be reviewed immediately as and when completed via the Crystal Ball admin portal, highlighting any defects which may have been recorded, allowing for them to be rectified as soon as possible.
For more information regarding SmartCam and the features it offers, please click here.