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MiniPlus Article
February 06 2019
By Mike Jewell

Mike Jewell is the industry’s leading legal journalist, covering all key cases brought before Public Inquries, Tribunals, Magistrates and Crown Courts

Fatal crash operator awaits TC’s decision

The Stagecoach subsidiary Midland Red (South) has to wait to see what action Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton is to take against its O-Licence and its Directors and Transport Managers following the convictions it sustained in relation to the fatal accident in Coventry in 2015 when a bus crashed into a supermarket killing two people after the driver mistook the brake pedal for the accelerator.

The company, with a 261-vehicle international licence had been called before the TC at a Birmingham Public Inquiry.

In November the company was fined a total of £2.34m after pleading guilty to failing to ensure the safety of employees and to failing to prevent risks of driver error due to lack of capability and/or fatigue and/or working hours. 

The driver Kailish Chander, a former mayor of Leamington Spa, who was 77 at the time, had been the subject of multiple complaints from passengers about his competence and had been involved in five accidents in the previous five years. 

Data from vehicle telematics showed his performance to be inadequate and he had received additional training. Prior to the accident he had worked an average of 72 hours per week.

In sentencing the company, Judge Paul Farrer QC said that if Stagecoach had followed its own policies Mr Chander would not have been driving [routeone/News/28 November 2018].

Mr Chander was deemed unfit to stand trial for causing death by dangerous driving after being diagnosed with dementia.

The TC was told that he should have been sent for additional driver training three times after complaints about his driving. A manager at the company’s Rugby depot sent an emails to more senior managers about his concerns over Mr Chander’s driving, saying that his future with the company should be considered. However, those senior managers did not see the emails. Two days after they were sent the accident occurred.

After hearing that that Mr Chander had been employed as a casual driver but had turned up every day in his uniform with his cash tin, the TC said that he was particularly concerned why his unusual behaviour had not been picked up.

For the company, it was said that the medical standards for drivers over 65 had been revised and they were reviewed every six months. The use of casual drivers had been stopped throughout the Stagecoach Group with effect from 5 January.

Indicating that he would be putting his decision in writing in two to three weeks’ time, the TC said that it was a unique case with some serious issues that required consideration.

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