The facts surrounding this tragic accident are still being investigated by the Police and the exact cause of the accident is as yet unknown. Everybody's thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those killed and injured. This accident follows what appears to be a similar event in Glasgow at Christmas when another large vehicle went out of control and killed and injured a number of pedestrians.
The loss of control of such vehicles can cause utter devastation and owners and operators of such vehicles are reminded that they have a duty to ensure that their vehicles are safe and roadworthy and further that their drivers are fully trained and fit to drive them.
Owners and operators must have a fully documented safety process in place to help demonstrate, at very short notice if required , not only the safety of the vehicle and the driver but also the compliant risk assessments for the operations being undertaken at the time of an accident.
Prosecutions can be pursued against businesses under The Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 and one such prosecution was announced by the CPS last September concerning Baldwins Crane Hire Limited following the death of their driver Lindsay Easton.
It was on 15 August 2011 that Mr Easton was driving a heavy crane down a steep road away from a Wind Farm at Scout Moor, Lancashire and during this journey, it is alleged that the brakes failed. The crane crashed into an earth bank and fell from the road.
The CPS website contains details of the charges and states that Baldwins Crane Hire Limited on the 15th day of August 2011 being an organisation, namely a corporation, because of the way in which the organisation's activities were managed or organised, caused the death of a person, namely Lindsay Easton, contrary to section 1 of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.
It should be noted that the trial of this case has not yet taken place but owners and operators of heavy goods and similar vehicles should be aware of the scope for such prosecutions and the huge fines and severe penalties that can be imposed upon conviction.