The lorry driver who hit Birmingham cyclist Dr Suzanna Bull because his view was blocked by a dashboard tray table has been jailed for 21 months for causing her death by careless driving. The firm for which he worked has been fined for failing to supervise the use of the tables.
Bull was in a designated cycle lane when she was hit on Pershore Road, Edgbaston, on October 9, 2017.
Robert Bradbury, aged 50, passed her on Pershore Road before pulling up behind a van at a set of lights at the Priory Road junction.
Bull went ahead when the lights turned green and Bradbury turned left into her. The court heard that she was "dragged under the lorry".
The court heard that Bull had been in a position where Bradbury should have seen her, but he failed to do so because a tray-table, a cap, a sat-nav system, a fan, ornaments and other items had been placed in the centre of the dashboard of his 32-tonne Scania.
Asked why he had the tray table, Bradbury said: "Just so I could be one of the lads. They all had one so I got one."
The table’s presence would have meant an MOT failure. Bradbury said he wasn’t aware of this, but the Birmingham Mail reports it was removed before his vehicle’s MOT and reinstalled afterwards.
His employer, S&J Transport, was aware this happened.
PC Mark Crozier, from West Midlands Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “The dashboard tables used by Bradbury and a number of other drivers across the UK are designed to only be used when the vehicle is stationary.
"They are not to be used when driving, as they clearly present a danger. The junk he accumulated on his dashboard contributed to the fatal collision.
“Both Bradbury and his employer knew his view would be impaired, but both their complacency and total lack of regard for the law were the overriding factors that led to the tragic death of Dr Suzanna Bull.
“I hope this sends a serious message to all road hauliers and drivers to review their vehicle checking processes as the safety of all road users is and always should be a priority."
S&J Transport pleaded guilty to failing to discharge its duty contrary to the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to supervise the use of the tables and was fined £112,500 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.
Bradbury was jailed for 21 months and banned from the roads for 34 months.
Asked if he knew who was at fault for the accident during the trial, Bradbury said: "It was six of one and half-a-dozen of the other."
Judge Paul Farrer QC said he saw no signs during the trial that Bradbury believed he was to blame for the death.