As part of its No More Lethal Lorries appeal the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) is demanding to know how a lorry driver with a string of convictions was allowed behind the wheel of a lorry. The organisation says it will continue its campaigning efforts to ensure that drivers with a string of motoring convictions such as Dennis Putz cannot get behind the wheel of an HGV and present a risk to bike riders as part of its five point HGV safety plan .
LCC is also querying why Putz’s employers, Thames Materials Ltd, which they say “failed in their responsibility to protect the public” by employing a dangerous driver with a history of convictions for driving-related offences.
It added that it “is lobbying every decision-maker in the chain, asking why Thames Materials isn't being sued for corporate manslaughter,” saying: “We've been making the case for a long time that companies have a duty to ensure their drivers are competent and capable of doing their work in a way that doesn't endanger the public.
“This was a crash waiting to happen because the regulations are too lax and they're not properly enforced.
“Our "No More Lethal Lorries" campaign will continue until every single operator takes full responsibility for keeping drivers like Putz off our streets.”
Last week, as reported on road.cc, Putz was jailed for seven years at Inner London Crown Court and banned for driving for life after being convicted of causing the death by dangerous driving of cyclist Catriona Patel close to Oval tube station.
The court heard that Putz, who had been drinking and was also using his mobile phone at the time of the fatal collision, had twice been jailed for previous driving offences.
The first of those sentences was in 1995, when he was imprisoned for six months after being convicted of reckless driving. Then, in 2003, he received another prison sentence following 16 counts of driving without a licence.
LCC points out that no company has yet been convicted of corporate manslaughter, now covered in England and Wales under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, as a result of a death on the road, and says that the culture of safety in the road transport industry lags behind that of other sectors such as air, sea and rail.
It also says that 800 people died on the country’s roads following work-related crashes during 2008.
The No More Lethal Lorries campaign is headed at LCC by former lorry driver Charlie Lloyd, and the organisation is seeking donations, which can be made here, to enable it to continue its work in this area. So far, it has raised £16,000 of its £20,000 target.
No More Lethal Lorries five point safety plan
1 Cyclist-awareness training for drivers
All city lorry drivers should be have ongoing cycle-awareness training, including on-bike experience.
2 Drivers must take more responsibility
Authorities must recognise driver responsibility for doing everything practical to reduce risks. Blaming a ‘blind spot’ should be an admission of guilt.
3 Safer design for London lorries
Lorries designed for off-road use should be taken off city streets. The best mirrors, cameras and sensors should be fitted as standard.
4 Higher standards from lorry operators
Quality-assurance schemes such as London’s Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) should be mandatory, and the police encouraged to crack down on rogue operators.
5 More responsible procurement
Companies must only buy haulage services from reputable firms, with government taking a lead in encouraging best practice.
Plus: Better education for cyclists
Cyclists must be given the most accurate and up-to-date information on riding safely around lorries.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.