Lorry driver’s suspended sentence after fatal accident

A “totally avoidable” fatal collision between an artic and an 89-year-old pedestrian has resulted in a 12-month suspended prison sentence and disqualification for the driver.

Trucker Stephen Bedder was also ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work when he appeared at Norwich Crown Court on 7 May, after being found guilty of causing death by careless driving at an earlier hearing.

He was driving a Renault tractor unit with an articulated trailer in May 2018 when he came to a halt at a pedestrian crossing in Norwich, almost three metres over the stop line. Pedestrian Geoffrey Spalding stepped out in front of the vehicle and as he did so, the traffic lights changed to flashing amber and Bedder moved off, hitting Spalding and knocking him to the ground. The pedestrian sustained significant injuries and died in hospital a few days’ later.

Andy Hughes from Norfolk Constabulary’s serious collision investigation team said: “This collision was totally avoidable. “Our investigation established that Bedder reacted late to the red light, stopping well over the stop line and, having done so, then set off on a flashing amber light failing to see Mr Spalding crossing in front of him. Had he stopped in the correct place and checked his mirror checks thoroughly, he would have seen Mr Spalding and been able to react.”

Licence curtailment after fitness “severely tarnished”

An Essex operator has had two HGVs cut from its licence after the traffic commissioner expressed concerns at its lack of compliance regarding drivers’ hours management, defect reporting and maintenance. Thurrock Scaffolding Services appeared before TC Richard Turfitt via a video link after failing to provide financial evidence within a given deadline.

The firm, which operated six HGVs, then contacted the Office of the TC and said the pandemic’s impact had affected operations, but the statements it then provided still did not meet the required sum. Further paperwork submitted prior to the PI revealed preventative maintenance failings, no driver defect reports and examples of drivers’ hours infringement reporting, as well as a string of WTD infringements from one driver.

In evidence, director Joe Giggins said he had experienced serious health issues during the relevant period and all the pressures had been placed on co-director Ryan Johnson. Johnson admitted he had not paid proper attention to compliance of the licence requirements, but that both of them were adamant in their need for training and instruction.

In his written decision, the TC said the operator’s approach to the PI had been “fairly dismal”, but acknowledged it was a first appearance. Various undertakings were offered by the operator for prompt remedial action, which included training and audits and Turfitt said if these actions were completed then compliance could be achieved. However, he also pointed out that fitness had been severely tarnished and deterrent action was needed and so he curtailed the licence to four lorries.