A bus company has been fined more than £2 million following the deaths of two people when a bus driven by a 77-year-old man, Kailash Chander, crashed into a Sainsbury’s store in Coventry on 3 October 2015.
As reported in the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Occupational Health [at Work] , Midland Red (South), had already pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in relation to the crash. At a subsequent hearing at Birmingham Crown Court, the company was fined £2,335,000 and ordered to pay costs. Midland Red (South) was found to have dealt inadequately with numerous complaints about Chander’s driving and ignored warnings to ensure he reduced his working hours in light of the impact of fatigue on him.
Chander, who is now aged 80, was ruled medically unfit to stand trial. A finding-of-facts hearing heard that he had worked around 75 hours a week in the three weeks leading up to the crash and could have been suffering from dementia at the time of the incident. Investigators found no mechanical fault with the bus and concluded that Chander had put his foot on the accelerator pedal believing it to be the brake. Chander has been handed a two-year supervision order.
Michael Gregory, senior specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Special Crime Division, said: ‘The bus company had a duty of care to their passengers and members of the public, and a responsibility to ensure their drivers were fit and capable of undertaking their role. Kailash Chander was not [fit to drive] and despite numerous complaints, the company failed to address this, breaching their own policies in the process.
‘The CPS presented evidence to show the lengthy period Midland Red was aware of increasing concerns regarding Chander’s driving and the failure to address them.’
This article is taken from the legal news of Occupational Health [at Work], February March 2019
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