Brake backs calls for changes to how we are deemed “fit to drive” after inquiry finds crash that killed six people could have been prevented

8th December 2015
Brake, the road safety charity

• Investigation into a bin-lorry crash in Glasgow, which killed six people and injured 17, finds numerous things could have been done to prevent it.

• Sheriff finds eight "reasonable precautions", all related to the driver's health, could have been taken but weren't, and makes 19 recommendations.

Brake is welcoming recommendations made by a court in Glasgow, which heard a horrific crash involving a bin lorry just before Christmas last year could and should have been prevented. It's also calling for changes to the law, including increased penalties and prosecutions for drivers who fail to declare medical conditions.

Driver Harry Clarke, then aged 57, lost control of the lorry when he fainted due to a medical condition. The vehicle mounted a pavement, busy with pedestrians and Christmas shoppers, killing six people, including two grandparents and their granddaughter. It later emerged Mr Clarke had suffered a similar episode while driving in a previous job, but this had not been disclosed to his new employer, Glasgow City Council.

Brake is supporting a number of recommendations made at yesterday's hearing by Sheriff John Beckett – they included:

• Much greater awareness-raising by the DVLA to the medical profession of the dangers and implications of medical conditions for fitness-to-drive.

• Stronger investigations by the DVLA when they are given information by a third party that someone may not be fit to drive.

• The consideration of changes to the law, including increased penalties and prosecutions for drivers who fail to declare medical conditions.

Link to Sheriff's full recommendations

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: This was a horrendous tragedy. We now know that it was entirely preventable, which adds further heartache for the bereaved families. We fully support the recommendations made by the Sheriff. We urge all drivers to ensure they fully disclose any medical condition that prevents them driving safely to the DVLA, or the DVA in Northern Ireland. We recently backed draft strengthened guidelines for doctors from the General Medical Council on reporting medically "unfit" drivers to the driver agencies, but it's clear more action needs to be taken, some at government level, to stop another tragedy like this from happening again.

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on Twitter, Facebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

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