£2.3m fine for bus company after fatal crash
A bus company was on Tuesday fined £2.3m after its driver crashed into a supermarket, killing a pedestrian and a passenger. Midland Red (south), the bus company, had failed to comply with the Health and Safety Work Act prior to 2015 crash. Kailash Chander was responsible for the accident when the bus ploughed into a supermarket in Coventry city centre in October 2015. The bus company (owned by Stagecoach Group), apologized to family and friends of those that were injured and killed during the accident.
Chander, 80, had a supervision order for two years.He was mentally unfit to stand trial at the time-had dementia (medical evidence). In September this year, a trial of facts were presented before the Birmingham Crown Court that revealed the driver mistook the brake for the accelerator, causing the crash. He had made a fundamental error because court documents allege the driver hit the accelerator for around 11 seconds.The prosecution team described the act as ”gross failure” by the driver.
The jury on its part noted that Chander ( was aged 77 at the time), was driving dangerously. The trial of fact revealed Kailash Chander killed a primary school pupil , aged seven and a pedestrian (aged 77.) Two other people were also injured during the collision. Prior to his crash in 2015, Chander had been given repeated warnings the previous years by his employer erratic driving-he had crashed four times in three years.
Six months before the crash,an in-house assessor gave a recommendation that Chander should not work long hours as a relief driver. However, Midland Red did not follow up on the recommendation. During the two-day sentencing, the judge said the bosses at Leamington Spa (where Chander was based), did not enforce the assessor’s recommendation. This type of issue will be of interest to solicitors Chester and other legal firms nationwide.
In the run-up to the crash, the judge said the company failed to follow up on the policy of their assessor. Before the accident, evidence presented before court revealed Chander had worked for 75 hours without rest. On the day of the incident, it was his sixth consecutive working day.Therefore, the drivers fatigue might have caused the accident.
An assessment made suggested Chander would have driven to a satisfactory standard if he had taken proper rest (this fact that was laid bare to his bosses.) The judge also claimed Midland Red disregarded the recommendation of its own in-house assessor due to shortage of drivers on its end, ” ….having heard the evidence that has been presented before me, I have no doubt the failure to enforce the policy was not inadvertent. On the contrary,it was disregarded due to staff shortages.” His verdict was the failings of Midland Red led to the fatal accident of October 2015.
The judge also recognized the bravery and quick thinking of Teil Portlock, a bystander who waved his arms at people when he realized the bus was out of control. The judge awarded him £250. Richard Atkins, Midland Red’s barrister, said the firm had made changes to its safety procedures after the 2015 incident. He also revealed that currently, the company runs on a good safety record.