Death by Dangerous Driving - Jonathan
I am surprised that no one else has mentioned it here, so here goes.

The chap who is up for causing death by dangerous driving, as far as I understand, was deprived of sleep, which lead to him falling asleep at the wheel.

How many of us, hand on heart, can honestly say that we haven't ever driven when we think we shouldn't be (either extremely tired or otherwise). What would your bosses say if you said you weren't going to go to an appointment/meeting because you were too tired?

The accident was a tragedy, and a court trial is the correct procedure to determine whether he is guilty or not. But, he probably didn't set out intentionally to be dangerous.

Has the design of the barriers been looked at? I thought that there was a gap between the end of the barrier and the bridge, which enabled him to get off the carriageway (mind you, he would have had to have been fast asleep to cross the rumble strip and not notice).

Re: Death by Dangerous Driving - Simon Butterworth
Do we need to be carefull here, there is a trial in progress.

Sub Judice and all that stuff??
Re: Death by Dangerous Driving - David W

My worry about this revolves around the prosecution being related to the result of his error, not the error itself.

If he had run off the motorway to an open field situation I guess in some circumstances the Traffic Guys might have "flashed/slowed" the traffic while he got out of the mud onto the road and sent him on his way with a wry grin.

In the circumstances above his "offence" would have been just the same as the one currently in the media.

I would be interested to hear DVD on this one.

Re: Death by Dangerous Driving - Alwyn
As I have mentioned previously, a friend of mine was killed when a driver pulled out of a side road and then stopped right across his path.

I attended Court with his mother and the prosecutor said quite clearly that she (the driver) could not be tried on the basis of the outcome of her action, just on the action itself; careless driving.

Fined £125 and another £125 for driving on a provisional licence

Yet I believe that if I push someone in the street and they fall over and smash their head on the kerb and die, I can surely be done for manslaughter because, as a result of my actions, someone died.

If someone tossed a match into a waste bin and, as a result, Chester City centre (wooden buildings) is burned down, what is the charge? Arson or careless disposal of a match?

Tiredness at the wheel can be strange. We know we are tired and should stop but because of our soporific state, we are not thinking clearly and perhaps carry on when we should not.

I remember years ago having spent a long time in the sea air at Llandudno, I was driving home and became aware that I was nodding off. Probably only milli-seconds - it is called micro-sleep - but enough to cause a fright and fortunately I was able to pull off the road and let my wife take the wheel.

If we are honest, I think this horror can happen to any one of us. We are humans and we sometimes make mistakes. This why they put erasers on the end of pencils, but in that case there is generally not a possible fatal outcome.
Re: These aren't "accidents" - steve paterson
Alwyn, The lorry driver actually stayed at the scene and I watched him and the police walking up and down the road measuring and so on, I guess the driver was pointing out where he was when he braked. They also measured skid marks. I saw the accident scene and it was obvious that if the lorry had been travelling just a bit slower, the lad would have escaped. His squashed bike and bloodstains were only feet from where the lorry stopped.
Re: These aren't "accidents" - Alwyn
Perversely, if the lorry, had been going a little faster he would have been past the point were the poor lad came out of the side road.

We all make mistakes and some of them are fatal. it is ssaid that we someitmes pay for our mistakes with our lives, or someone else's.
Re: Death by Dangerous Driving - Bob H

I think it would be wise to heed Simon's warning and talk in more general terms.

We all make errors of judgement in driving - and get away with most of them. Even if we do cause an accident by our error the offence is usually dealt with by prosecution for one of the categories of careless driving.

IMHO it is a different matter if you drive knowing you, or your car, are not fit to be on the road; or for that matter deliberately take a risk resulting in a accident.

Obviously nobody intends to have an accident but if such action causes death how do you feel it should be dealt with?

Re: Death by Dangerous Driving - Jonathan
I wasn't intending to start a debate on this particular case. However, having re-read the post I can see that it does imply that.

The original intention was to raise a point similar to DW's (but along the way i seem to have omitted it). In that, if he hadn't gone onto a railway line, would he be guilty of any offence? And if so, would he be prosecuted?


PS If anyone else is concerned, I will ask MBRM to remove.
Re: Death by Dangerous Driving - Andrew
Very close to home this one and it is right to heed Simons advice.

As the Court case stands at the moment the Prosecution are alledging that the driver fell asleep. The Defence will be giving their case shortly.

It must be presumed that if the driver has pleaded ' Not Guilty' then he and his defence believe that whatever the circumstances were that led up to the tragedy then they did not ammount to 'reckless'. At the end of the day it is for the jury to decide based upon all the facts presented.

I'll leave it at that for the time being.

Re: These aren't "accidents" - Andrew
And after all the calculations have been made the calculated speed is the absolute MINIMUM speed that the vehicle could have been travelling!

Re: Death by Dangerous Driving - RogerL
The charge is "causing death by dangerous driving". If there was any suggestion that it was deliberate, the charge would have been murder.

Anyone who drives when impaired, through lack of sleep or any other reason is exposing other people to un-necessary risk and should be convicted.
Re: Death by Dangerous Driving - richard turpin
Causing death BY (ie as a result of) dangerous driving.
The question for the jury,
assuming they are sure that falling asleep when driving after not going to bed the night before is conduct falling "far below" the standard expected of a normal competent driver,
the question will be was his driving a substantial cause of the deaths?
I'm afraid the answer must be yes.
Re: Death by Dangerous Driving - Steve G
But can they prove he fell asleep at the wheel ?
The fact he had little sleep the previous evening/early morning is just circumstantial.
Will be interesting to hear what the defence are arguing.
Re: Death by Dangerous Driving - Richard P
I recall from a story I read in a paper, that the police did the same drive using a landrover and car on a trailer, and they did not reach the accident point in the time it took the defendant, even when not obeying some speed limits....looks like he was speeding too! I have felt tired on some journeys, but I always try and make an effort to park up and have a walk, go for a coffee etc. But that is a rare occurance.
Re: Death by Dangerous Driving - crazed idiot
everybody speeds...

mostly people drive safely when doing so...

feel sorry for the people involved

i think the real people who should be hauled in front of the court are the people resposible for such crap road design
Re: These aren't "accidents" - Dwight Van-Driver

There is a system of accident investigation by mathematics where by assessing the skid resistance of the road, measuring the length of brake mark from locked wheels, applying the rules of physics by formula, the police can come up with the speed a vehicle was travelling at, at point of lock up. It is a very complicated system (even to explain) but has been used in serious road accidents and a conviction obtained. If you know the speed then you can start applying time factors and build up a graph of the accident path and position of vehicles at any given second or part of.
System originates from the work of J. STANNARD- BAKER, a USA Highway patrol man and has been accepted by UK Courts at all levels.

These aren't "accidents" - Andy P
We shouldn't call these events "accidents", because that is precisely what they are not.

An accident implies that the event was completely outside the control of those involved. Yoo don't have "plane accidents" when something goes wrong, do you?

Let's be honest here. These events are crashes, not accidents. In almost every case, the cause is human error.

Sorry to be pedantic, but I don't think the word "accident" quite gets the message across.

Re: These aren't "accidents" - Dwight Van-Driver
David W.

Section 1 Road Traffic Act, 1988 - a person who causes the death of another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place is guilty of an offence.
Punishment - 10 years imprisonment, or fine, or both. Obligatory Disqualification, endorsement and 3 - 11 penalty points.

Section 2A defines dangerous driving if:
a) the way he drives falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, AND
b) it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.
How the judiciary look at this may be demonstrated in the case of R v Marison (1996) - a Diabetic driver (condition?), aware that there was a real risk that he would have a sudden hypoglycaemic attack (consequence?) started to drive and suffered such an attack which resulted in a crash, that fell within the definition of dangerous driving.
Richard Turpin (see his entry) seems to hit the nail on the head.
Not wishing to prejudge or prejudice an on going trial I will say from the circumstances reported, aquaint that with the above definition of dangerous driving, to reach your own individual verdict.
I look forward to the result as I feel there are a number of issues yet to be addressed by the Defence.
Re: These aren't "accidents" - steve paterson
The police can be very thorough when they need to be. A few years ago there was an accident outside my workplace. A schoolboy cycled out of a side road onto the fairly fast 30mph main road and was killed by a lorry. Even the most sympathetic witnesses agreed that the lad was at fault. Using the same lorry and a police driver the police spent several hours re-running the accident, braking from various points and speeds. (Tacho evidence alone won't do when speeding is involved, it must be backed up by other evidence). When the case came to court the driver claimed that he was doing less than 35mph. The police were able to prove that he was doing 38mph when he applied his brakes. In spite of his claims and eyewitness statements, the lorry driver contributed to the accident.
Re: These aren't "accidents" - Alwyn
I wonder how the police "proved" their case.

When they were driving the lorry, they had advance warning of the fact that they were going to stop whereas the actual lorry driver did not . Big difference?
Re: These aren't "accidents" - Brian
I have been known to have felt sleepy when driving, particularly after lunch.
Ten to fifteen minutes shut-eye usually cures it.
However, the problem is often finding somewhere to stop.
I don't think that pulling over onto the hard shoulder because you are tired is an accepted reason for stopping, yet the next junction or service area may well be 20 or 30 minutes away, too far to drive safely in that condition.
Get out of that one!
Re: These aren't "accidents" - Steve G
Wind down all the windows,open the sunroof,put the aircon on freeze,switch the radio from radio2 to radio 1 and turn up the volume.
This will make you get to your destination with out falling asleep, you will desperate to get out of your car as quickly as possible !

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