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Council considers driver checks after fatal bin lorry crash

Glasgow City Council has said it is considering how to implement a series of recommendations, including requiring prospective drivers to release medical records, in response to an inquiry into last year’s bin lorry crash.

Six people died after being struck by a collection vehicle which crashed in the city centre on 22 December 2014. Ten others were injured, including the driver.

Scotland’s Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service ruled in February that no criminal charges should be brought.

Following an inquiry, sheriff John Beckett QC has now made a number of recommendations, which the council said it would consider how to implement, including:

  • A requirement for applicant collection drivers to sign a consent form permitting release by any GP of relevant medical records to the occupational health doctor.
  • Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA), the Crown Prosecution Service and Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to review whether there are policies in place that discourage prosecution for breaches of sections 94 and 174 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
  • DVLA and the Department for Transport to consider how best to increase public awareness of the impact of medical conditions on fitness to drive and the notification obligations in that regard.

During evidence at the inquiry, it emerged that the driver passed out at the wheel, suffering an episode of neurocardiogenic syncope, while the bin lorry was on Queen Street in Glasgow city centre.

Beckett said in his report that the driver “repeatedly lied” about his previous medical conditions in order to keep his job.

It reads: “The most effective measure to prevent such an occurrence would be to seek to avoid drivers becoming incapacitated at the wheel.”

The council said in a statement: “There is nothing we can say that will ease the pain and suffering of the bereaved, but our primary concern throughout has been for the families of those who lost their lives and those who were injured in this terrible accident, and that will always remain the case.”

It launched an appeal fund in January for people affected by the incident with a donation of £20,000, while £10,000 was given by the Lord Provost’s Goodwill Fund.

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