Drivers are Responsible Both in and out of the Vehicle

A case that was recently heard and ruled upon in the Court of Appeal should serve as a cautionary tale for fleet drivers and their employers regarding safe driving and all that it entails. The case involved a delivery driver named Raymond Jenkins who was working delivering building supplies. His scheduled delivery required access to a driveway off of the A68 in Durham, but as other vehicles were blocking the entrance, Jenkins parked his vehicle on the A68. Though the A68 is a single-lane road with a double-white line indicating no passing, he parked his vehicle on the road itself with his engine running and his flashers on in order to alert other drivers, who were forced to enter the oncoming lane of traffic in order to proceed. A van driver was unable to negotiate the move and smashed into Jenkins’ vehicle at a high rate of speed and was immediately killed by the impact, and the courts have ruled that it was a result of Jenkins’ careless driving.

A spokesman from the motoring offences team at Davenport Lyons said that ‘there were a number of drivers who had difficulties, one had to make an emergency stop to avoid hitting his vehicle’. Their defense argument was that the case could not be considered careless driving as he was not driving the vehicle once it had been parked, and that he had left the flashers on as a precautionary measure. But the judges decided that the hazard that had been created was ‘bordering on dangerous’, and he was convicted and received a 15 month jail sentence and a driving ban of two years.

Important to note for companies that are responsible for commercial deliveries and business driving, that if a death occurs as a result of something that was done while driving, the act of death doesn’t have to happen at the same time. Fleet owners are advised to instruct their commercial van drivers to always make certain that their vehicles are parked safely and that all precautions are taken regarding their vehicle whether they are with it or not.