Elaine Corner's story: Consequences of driver distraction - by Mark Cartwright, Head of Vans, FTA

Posted on: Tuesday, 18 October 2016 by Alice Bayford

Sometimes in life you meet somebody with such a positive attitude in circumstances that would make most people crumble into a world of self-pity.

Elaine Corner is one of those positive people, and whilst I'm sure most readers will never have heard of her - she is one of the singularly most impressive people I've ever met.

Elaine was introduced to FTA when we were planning the content for our recent Van Excellence Operational Briefings, and she agreed to speak to our audiences about the day that changed her life.

By way of background, Elaine served in the military for many years. She has, as you'd expect, a very confident and forthright personality with a zest for life. She strode on to our stage and in a very matter of fact way told our audience about her love of riding her motorbike.

One morning she was out on her bike near her home in Wiltshire, when a van from a very well-known commercial fleet, pulled out on the road straight in front of her. The driver hadn't seen Elaine - he was on the phone - in breach of his company's policy.

The accident literally changed Elaine's life in a split second, all because that driver thought that taking a phone call was more important than paying full attention to the road. That decision cost him £600 and 6 points on his licence. It cost Elaine her leg and her career.

It's worth noting that no legal action was taken against the company even though they had previously reprimanded the driver for using his mobile. This probably wouldn’t be the case now with the Health & Safety Executive making the intention very clear that it will be looking more closely at work related road incidents and, with the recent changes to the sentencing guidelines for Health and Safety prosecutions, the penalties are potentially severe.

If this incident had been prosecuted under the new guidelines there is every chance that the driver, culpable managers and directors would have been looking at custodial sentences and the company looking at a considerable fine.

If you and importantly your directors aren't aware of these guidelines then you should be!

Elaine now works tirelessly to promote road safety, and speaks passionately and openly about the potential consequences of drivers not paying full attention to what they're doing behind the wheel.

So - next time you decide to just take that call - think again - you could change someone's life forever.

Take a look at Elaine speaking at FTA’s Safety in Logistics conference:

 

 

(The views and opinions expressed by the authors of these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Freight Transport Association)

 

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