DHL Driver Convicted After Train Crash

21 year old DHL van driver Graham Foster was recently convicted of endagering the safety of train passengers following a collision with a train on an unmanned level crossing.

Most newspaper reports have picked up on the driver blindly following his satnav’s instructions and ignoring warning signs but other reports make the situation clearer.

“The DHL delivery driver had started work at 7.30am that morning. It had been a long day for him and he had only made 85 drops out of 120 he had to complete by the time of the accident.

“It was a strange area to him and he was under a great deal of pressure to get the delivery out first and foremost.

“This is a 21-year-old man who was under significant pressure from his employers.

“He was panicked and fairly stressed and at the time of the accident still had 35 packages to deliver.”

The accident happened at 1735 – the driver had already been working for over 10 hours and had done 85 drops out 120 in a rural area of Northumberland that he was unfamiliar with. His satnav sent him down a gravel track where he was confronted with an unmanned level crossing seemingly of the type with no warning lights.

One report says “Foster had ignored safety notices at the crossing and had not followed written instructions to ring a signaller to check if it was safe to cross. Instead, he simply attempted to cross the track, causing the accident.”

I used to have to cross one of these crossings regularly and I’m certain that the signs actually said something like “drivers of large or slow vehicles must phone signalman for permission to cross”. As he wasn’t driving either then maybe he should be forgiven for not phoning the signalman – if that’s what the signs say of course.

Richard Booth, the chairman of the Tynedale magistrates’ bench, said “we have taken into account that you were under considerable duress at the time of the accident.

“I think your employer needs to be taken into account.”

Mr Foster received a 13-week jail term, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to do 200 hours community work and pay costs of £60.

It’s not clear from reports whether DHL face any action for their part in the accident, or indeed whether the driver was an employee, a subcontractor or a ‘Service Partner’.

Posted under Drivers' Hours, SatNav

Posted by Alec at 10:45 am, July 23, 2008

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1 Comment so far

  1. Nigel Valentine added on  July 6th, 2011 at 05:53

    VOSA will take action against an operator who plans immpossible and unrealistic deliveries for drivers. This is unfair on drivers and creates a dangerous situation.

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