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Driver that killed Lisa Pontecorvo had removed mirror
27.03.09 by Buffalo Bill

At the end of this month, legislation making ‘blind-spot’ mirrors, which eliminate the blind-spot to the left and front of a driver’s cab (in right hand drive vehicles), compulsory on all lorries/HGVs/LGVs registered in the EU since 2000, will come into force. This legislation which eliminate the principle defence of lorry drivers give in court, when accused of causing the death of cyclist, ie ‘s/he was in my blind-spot’.

In a related story, it seems that the driver that killed Lisa Pontecorvo on the Holloway Road last year had just such a mirror fitted, but removed it days before the fatal collision. According to this report from the inquest

Detective Sergeant David Hindmarsh, of the police collision investigation unit, said: “The vehicle should have had a close proximity mirror fitted but it was not. The mirror was damaged on the Thursday [before the tragedy] and was removed by the driver. He did nothing about it. The summons [for causing death by dangerous driving] will have been issued by now. I would imagine it will go to Crown Court.”

Coroner Dr Andrew Reid explained how the mirror, which should have been over the windscreen facing downwards, could have saved Ms Pontecorvo’s life. He said: “It is a mirror to give the driver a view of people who do not come up to the level of the window. I am obliged to adjourn the inquest. When the prosecution is concluded I will make a decision to resume. I have taken sufficient evidence that the cause of death was multiple injuries.”

The operator of the truck was Hanson, one of whose vehicles killed Emma Foa in 2006.

A spokesman for the company said the truck was operated by a franchisee, adding: “We have very clear health and safety regulations for trucks which we expect drivers to adhere to. That includes these mirrors”.

Not good enough. You would have thought that after the death of Emma Foa, they would have redoubled (or even retripled) their efforts, rather as Cemex has.

Guardian piece on Sheppard's death and trial by media
Guardian story on lorry deaths makes serious error
8th female London cyclist killed by lorry?
Police appeal for witnesses to fatal collision, 11th London cyclist killed
'Psychiatrist' says bicycles kill more people than 'terrorism'
Appeal for witnesses to fatal collision, 29th June 0820, Kennington
London Cycling Campaign
Boris left at the lights
Dead cyclist's widow wins compensation
Killer drivers' sentences appealed

  1. Serious point.
    It always puzzles me that road haulage firms and other transport companies chant the “Health & Safety” mantra – just like everyone else in this country.
    Prosecutions under the 1974 Health & Safety Act are basically brought by the Health & Safety Executive. In the 35 years the HSW Act’s been on the books, the HSE has, to my knowledge, never sought to prosecute anyone under the HSW Act in circumstances where the alleged offence is covered by road traffic legislation.
    There’s no legal reason for this. There’s nothing in the HSW Act to exempt anything that happens on a road from its provisions. There have been successful private prosecutions under the HSW Act for things that happened on the roads.
    It’s sadly true that the HSE’s reluctance to become involved in road traffic incidents stems from the belief (held by most senior HSE officials) that the HSW Act is an extraordinarily badly-drafted piece of legislation, open to sweeping interpretation, and any attempt to apply it to circumstances where people are travelling at 70mph would prove embarrassing and probably impossible.


    — Count Basie    28 March 2009, 16:57    #
  2. The reason that HSE don’t get involved in injuries resulting from collisions on the roads is that they don’t have enough people. Seriously. This information was passed by HSE staff to people in the HGV/cyclist lobby.


    — Bill    28 March 2009, 18:59    #
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