Incident alert

High Potential

Fatal Incident - Cyclist
United Kingdom
A young female cyclist was fatally injured at a T-junction when she was struck by a truck mixer that was being driven by a contract driver. The following is based on the police reconstruction of the incident and may change should further evidence become available. The driver of the truck was travelling along a main road and wanted to turn his vehicle around and travel back the way he had come; the road is two way with single opposing carriageways. As he passed the junction, the driver moved over into the opposite carriageway, facing the oncoming traffic, and reversed into a side road. It is believed witnesses to the incident saw the cyclist in the centre of the side road, waiting to turn onto the main road at the T-junction. As the driver exited back onto the main road, it seems the front nearside of the truck struck the cyclist, despite the efforts of one witnesses to alert him to the danger. The driver was arrested at the scene and has been charged with “causing death by careless driving”.
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The driver, who had previously worked as an independent contract haulier for the company, had retired and was acting as a temporary / ‘relief driver’ providing holiday cover for another independent contract haulier. He had recently passed his statutory medical and renewed his industry Driver Skills Card; however his level of competency had not been formally reviewed and recorded. Are contract drivers included on an ‘Approved List’ after appropriate checks have been made? Are systems in place to ensure all drivers are instructed and kept up to date on company requirements / standards, with documented checks made to ensure they are competent? Are these arrangements monitored during inspections, audits, leadership safety tours, etc.?
There were a number of items obstructing forward vision and view of the mirrors from the driver’s position. Are drivers aware of the need to ensure their field of vision and view of their mirrors is maximised to reduce the potential for ‘blind spots’ around their vehicles?
It was commented by the Police that the kerbside close proximity mirror was incorrectly aligned. Do drivers know how to check and adjust their mirrors so that they are correctly aligned?
The reversing camera monitor was positioned on the far side of the cab, away from the driving position, the lens was dirty and an intermittent fault resulting in picture loss was observed during the reconstruction. Are monitors located where the picture can be clearly seen, without obscuring forward visibility? Are cameras kept clean and monitors checked to ensure they are fully functional?
Housekeeping inside the cab was poor, with debris and equipment stored in the passenger foot well. Are the cabs of vehicles kept clean, with all items secured, to ensure nothing interferes with their safe operation, or causes injury in the event of a collision?
It has been reported that a pre-start check was undertaken of the vehicle at the beginning of the day, in addition to monthly inspections by the business. Are pre-start checks carried out? Are they carried out in a thorough manner? Do drivers know what to check and the action to take when defects are identified, including when vehicles should be parked up? Are periodic checks carried out by managers and supervisors to ensure inspection and maintenance systems are robust?
It is essential that drivers keep a constant look out for more vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians. Are the risks to vulnerable road users included in ongoing and defensive driver training programmes for company and contract drivers? Is the importance of constant vigilance stressed at safety meetings and during leadership discussions with drivers?

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