“Out of cab” death driver loses appeal

A driver convicted of causing death by careless driving has had an appeal rejected by the Court of Appeal, even though he wasn’t in his lorry at the time. Raymond Jenkins had parked his LGV on a stretch of the A68 with double white lines in County Durham after being unable to drive into the premises of his delivery destination. He had put his hazard lights on, but the low position of the sun meant that van driver Peter Kemp did not see the lorry until it was too late and collided with it at an estimated 50 to 60mph. He died at the scene.

Jenkins’ defence lawyers argued that he had taken reasonable precautions and as he had stopped driving 10 minutes before the crash, there was no actual ‘driving’ at the time of the accident and therefore he could not be guilty of the offence. But the Appeal court dismissed this argument, stating that “It was an accident waiting to happen”. The judges stated that the Act defined the offence as “‘causing the death…by driving.’ It is not ‘causing the death while driving.’” They added that the incident just fell short of death by dangerous driving.

Philip Somarakis, partner at Davenport Lyons, said: “I think this case sets the scene for other cases on this point. Drivers who cause unnecessary obstructions to other road users or pedestrians by their parking will face legal consequences because of their actions. Employers may also be liable as well. Drivers who are unsure about whether it is safe to park in a given place should always err on the side of caution.”

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