Turners of Soham lorry filmed driving wrong way round Bar Hill roundabout - driver is being given second chance
- Credit: Archant
Turners of Soham managing director Paul Day says he will not sack the lorry driver who went the wrong way around a roundabout on the A14.
Video of the incident – caught by a Chatteris man on his dashboard camera- has attracted over half a million viewers since it was posted on the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire website this week.
Speaking to Dotty McLeod on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Mr Day said: 'I was shocked when I watched it; clearly our driver has made a mistake. He has gone the wrong way round a roundabout, affecting a right turn.
'But rather than going round, he's actually cut across and gone the wrong side of the roundabout.'
The driver, who has worked for Turners for three months and passed his lorry driving test in May and passed all of the company's tests.
'I have decided to give him another chance,' said Mr Day. 'We'll take him out of driving for two weeks to retrain him and give him another opportunity.
'We're going to fit a camera in his lorry and we will be watching that footage closely, because we can't afford another incident like this.
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'The driver has seen what he's done and he does not want to do that again. However, it doesn't excuse what he's done at all.'
Mr Day said the driver is from their Castleford depot who was making some collections in East Anglia
'In my opinion, he's become lost,' he said. 'He's tried to find a collection point in Histon; he's made some mistakes and got lost in his movement of the lorry.
'It's no excuse at all: he's a professional driver now and he shouldn't have done this manoeuvre.
'We interviewed him on Monday to go over exactly what happened in his view. He was clearly confused and he went to turn right and just didn't realise there was a roundabout there.
'I can't explain that, as to why, but that's the only explanation and what appears to show on the video.'
Mrs McLeod asked Mr Day: 'Are you sure it is safe for this man to continue driving, and continue driving one of your lorries?'
Mr Day said: 'It's almost impossible to be completely certain. All I can say is that, in the test he completed to pass his HGV driving test, he passed that. He comes with good repute. He's passed our tests up to this point; we're going to take him out and train him for another two weeks.
'Provided he passes all those tests again, we'll give him another chance to drive. If there's any footage at all that shows that he loses concentration, then we wouldn't be able to continue with him.'
Mr Day also talked about cameras being fitted into Turners lorries.
'There's probably about five per cent of lorries in the country now with cameras fitted,' he said.
'We started about 18 months ago to fit cameras and we've got about half our fleet fitted with lorries. Unfortunately this one didn't have a camera fitted but before he goes out again we will fit one so we can follow it.
'It's quite interesting technology and we do think it'll benefit in terms of long-term safety.'
However Tony Barrios, an ex-Cambridgeshire Police traffic officer, told BBC Cambridgeshire 'a serious accident could have been caused.
'It's quite alarming actually, because it would be alarming if it was a motor vehicle doing that – as in a car - but we've got a heavy goods vehicle going the wrong way round a roundabout.
'It's an extremely dangerous manoeuvre, because, coming up to that roundabout, off the A14, are vehicles that have broken their speed down from 70 miles an hour to be confronted by an articulated lorry on their side of the road.'
Mr Barrios said there are two reasons why the lorry went the wrong way at the roundabout.
He said: 'It's a deliberate act – in which case it's an appalling piece of driving – or, the driver may well be from another country. If he's driving along that road along the approach to the roundabout, naturally you'd go round onto the right hand side.
'That may be an explanation; nevertheless, it's not particularly an excuse because wherever we drive we have to adhere to the rules of the road.'
Mr Day said the driver was English and ex-army.
Mr Barrios also gave some advice for companies to maintain an acceptable standard of driving.
'Most people like their vehicles to be liveried because it advertises their company. Turners are a very reputable firm. I certainly can say, in my career as a road policing officer, I never have had to stop or talk to a Turners lorry.
'But when you do put your name on the side of a vehicle, you want your drivers to try and maintain the good reputation of that company by driving in accordance to the laws of the road.'
Mr Barrios said the potential consequences could have been tragic.
'The laws of physics are that you've got an extremely heavy articulated vehicle that's going to hit a very small car. It's going to cause some, if not, a lot of damage.'