14 July 2011
The road traffic collision team at Leigh Day has expressed its satisfaction with the sentencing of a Czechoslovakian driver of an articulated lorry who was jailed at Loughborough Magistrates Court on 13 July 2011 having pleaded guilty to the offence of causing death by careless driving.
Mr Jiri Erman, a Czech national, clipped the back of a Daewoo Nexia driven by Michael Matthews from Hinkley in Leicestershire. Mr Matthews, with his wife Patricia in the front passenger seat, was driving on the southbound carriageway of the M1 between junctions 22, and 21a when Mr Erman's articulated lorry pulled out into the path of Mr Matthews' car and collided with it causing it to spin out of control and onto its roof.
Mr Matthews, who was 72 at the time of the crash, died at the scene; Mrs Matthews suffered spinal injuries and continues to suffer from her injuries and has also now been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
Mr Erman was jailed for six months and given the minimum mandatory disqualification of 12 months.
Mr Matthews’ daughter Claire said: “The death of my father and the injuries sustained by my mother, caused as a result of the dangerous driving of Mr Erman, has devastated the whole family.
“This tragedy might have been avoided if simple safeguards had been in place. A cheap but effective plastic lens stuck to the front window of Mr Erman’s cab would have eliminated the blind spot, which has been shown to be a contributory factor in this collision.
“A ‘Fresnel lens’ should be compulsory on all large foreign vehicles to dramatically cut the number of collisions caused by left hand drive vehicles on British roads.”
Road traffic collision specialist Penny Knight, a partner in the personal injury team at Leigh Day & Co, represented the Matthews family. She said:
“There are over 2000 collisions on Britain’s roads involving foreign registered vehicles. Approximately 20% of these are due to a ‘side swipe’ resulting from a blind spot for drivers of left hand vehicles. The Government must look at this issue before more people are killed or injured on the country’s roads. “The custodial sentence given by the Court today is entirely appropriate as a deterrent for other drivers and owners of haulage vehicles and as an incentive to implement safeguards which could save lives.”
For more information please contact Penny Knight on 020 7650 1200.
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