Friday, November 19, 2010

London Cyclist Killed By Truck Driver - Employers To Blame ? ...

This was Catriona Patel.

She was a 39-year-old London Executive, killed near Oval Tube station by a truck driven by a man who was not only on his phone, but still over the legal drink-drive limit from the night before. Yesterday the driver, Dennis Putz, 51 (who had "the most God-awful hangover" after having drunk at least seven pints of Guinness the night before )was jailed for seven years, and banned for life from ever sitting in a drivers seat again.

Putz has a history of convictions for drink-driving and has been caught either 16 or 20 times driving a HGV while disqualified (depending which article you read). He claimed he had not realised he had run over Mrs Patel - who had been wearing high-visibility clothing. (He only stopped when pedestrians began hammering on his cab door following the accident)
Attention now focuses on his employers, Thames Materials Ltd, in Hanwell, West London.

All companies which operate similiar vehicles are required to be sure that their "drivers are competent and capable of doing their work in a way that is safe for them and other people." Campaigners are calling for the truck operators to be investigated for corporate manslaughter - clearly they should have been aware of the drivers record and taken extra steps to ensure that someone with his record was safe to be given the keys to a truck.

In addition, the company themselves have a record of breaking safety regulations and poor maintenance of its vehicles. In March 1999 the Traffic Commissioner reduced its licence to only seven vehicles Thames Materials Ltd have failed several inspections, the company and its drivers have many convictions. In 2002 the Traffic Commissioner tried to revoke its licence to operate lorries, but this was overturned on appeal.

Sadly Thames Materials don't deal directly with the public otherwise we could start a boycott to drive them out of business. I wonder where the company director lives... ?