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Coroner raises safety concerns after pensioner killed by lorry

PUBLISHED: 12:49 20 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:54 20 April 2020

Dudley Howe was killed after being hit by a lorry on Station Road, Attleborough, in October 2017. Picture: Courtesy of Mr Howe's family/Norfolk Constabulary

Dudley Howe was killed after being hit by a lorry on Station Road, Attleborough, in October 2017. Picture: Courtesy of Mr Howe's family/Norfolk Constabulary

Archant

A coroner says the training of lorry drivers should be changed after a pensioner was run over and killed.

Police at the scene of the crash on Station Road, Attleborough, which killed Dudley Howe in October 2017. Picture: ArchantPolice at the scene of the crash on Station Road, Attleborough, which killed Dudley Howe in October 2017. Picture: Archant

Dudley Howe was knocked over by a lorry while crossing Station Road, Attleborough, in October 2017.

The 82-year-old, who lived in the town, had been walking through stationary, queuing traffic, when the vehicle slowly crept forward and drove over him.

Mr Howe, a retired farmer who bred Ayrshire dairy cows, was killed instantly.

In January, driver Simon Rayner, of Abbot Road, Norwich, was cleared of causing death by careless driving.

Police at the scene of the crash on Station Road, Attleborough, which killed Dudley Howe in October 2017. Picture: ArchantPolice at the scene of the crash on Station Road, Attleborough, which killed Dudley Howe in October 2017. Picture: Archant

But Norwich Crown Court heard the lorry’s mirrors had not been properly adjusted, meaning Mr Howe could not have been seen from the vehicle’s cab.

The jury subsequently sent a note to the judge recommending that the laws on the use of mirrors by lorry drivers be toughened.

It asked that lorry drivers should ensure they have mirrors fitted to show a view of the whole front of the cab, and for it to be made a criminal offence to not do so.

At the time, Judge Anthony Bate said he would pass the recommendation to Norfolk’s coroner’s office ahead of Mr Howe’s inquest.

With the inquest concluded on March 25, senior coroner for Norfolk, Jacqueline Lake, has written to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) highlighting the risk of further deaths.

In her letter, she said: “During the course of the inquest, the evidence revealed matters giving rise to concern. In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken.

“I understand there is nothing to mandate that specific subjects are covered during HGV training, such as the use and positioning of Class VI (cyclops) mirror which shows the area immediately in front of the lorry, which would otherwise be outside the lorry driver’s view.

“Some training is provided in respect of use of such mirrors but there are some industry bodies and operators who deliver training who do not require all drivers to undergo a Safe Urban Driving or Vulnerable Road User Awareness Course.

“In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe your organisation has the power to take such action.”

The DVSA must issue a response by May 20.


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