Next month is the fourth anniversary of the Glasgow bin lorry tragedy. Six people died and 17 were injured when a city council bin lorry cut a swathe through Christmas shoppers after the driver, Harry Clarke, fainted at the wheel. This was not the first time Clarke had fainted at the wheel, nor was it the first time pedestrians had been killed in similar circumstances.
Clarke was able to continue driving because he denied having had any previous fainting episode and there is no system in place to ensure a driver only receives a HGV licence if the DVLA has seen the applicant’s medical records.
This loophole means the tragedy could happen again, anywhere in the UK, at any time.
In the fatal accident inquiry which followed these six tragic deaths, Sheriff Beckett recommended that the Secretary of State for Transport should consult on the issue. At the moment, the UK Government and DVLA appear content to rely on increased guidance and awareness. This does not legislate for those who willfully drive HGVs when they know they should not. And it will provide no comfort to the families of those who died four years ago.
Ronald E Conway
Scotland co-ordinator, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)