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Transport Benevolent Fund - 2019
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March 13 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

Stagecoach Midlands gets four-week cut
after fatal supermarket crash

Fatal incident was result of ‘a series of errors over time’, says TC Nick Denton

Driver Kailash Chander had been involved in five accidents in the previous five years

Midland Red (South), trading as Stagecoach Midlands, has had its licence cut from 261 vehicles to 200 for 28 days.

It follows the fatal accident in Coventry in 2015 when a Dennis Trident crashed into a supermarket, killing a 76-year-old pedestrian and a seven-year-old boy on the upper deck. The driver had mistaken the brake pedal for the accelerator. 

Driver complaints

In November the company was fined £2.34m after pleading guilty to failing to ensure the safety of employees and failing to prevent risks of driver error.

Multiple complaints had been made by passengers about the 77-year-old driver, Kailash Chander, who had been involved in five accidents in the previous five years. Prior to the accident he had worked an average of 72 hours per week.

Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Denton said that it was clear that the tragic incident was not the result of a one-off error by one person, but of a series of errors committed over time by several people at various levels and of an inadequate system.

If he were to revoke the company’s licence or impose a substantial period of suspension, there could be a perverse result in that some or all of its services might be taken over by other operators, some of which might have less rigorous standards and/or driver safety procedures than Midland Red (South) had now developed.

‘Strong signal’

However, the scale of the company’s culpability was such that issuing a simple warning would also be inappropriate. He had therefore determined upon action which was significant enough to send the necessary strong signal to the company that its level of failure has been unacceptably high.

He had taken account of everything the company had done to make sure that the same mistakes could not be repeated. His action was a strong warning to the company that it had failed to come up to expectations in ensuring the safety of its staff and other road users, and that if such a failure was ever repeated then the complete loss of its right to operate would be the likely consequence.

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