Call to clamp down on dangerous lorry drivers

9:50am Friday 12th March 2010

THE grieving daughter of a Putley man killed in a horrific head-on crash has backed calls to clamp down on potentially dangerous European lorry drivers.

Denis Gibbons, a 68-year-old agricultural engineer, found himself face-to-face with an articulated lorry driving on the wrong side of the road as he travelled along the A438, between Trumpet crossroads and Tarrington.

The lorry driver, Portuguese-national Jose Ferriera-Cardosa, had driven 425-metres on the right-hand side after pulling out from a lay-by when the accident happened, 18-months ago.

Mr Gibbons’ daughter, Anita, called on the Government to make changes to the law to ensure more families would not have to face such devastating losses.

She said: “I’m just hoping that something can be done to prevent this happening to more people. A lot of these lorries are not road-worthy, but it’s the drivers as well. They may be experienced in their own countries but not on these roads.”

Miss Gibbons, who lives with her mother Jean, suggested a sat-nav type device could be fitted to foreign vehicles that would alert them when they strayed into the wrong lane.

“That would have possibly helped with my father’s case. Or perhaps even drivers having a to take a test to drive in this country. It’s happening too regularly really,” she added.

Mr Gibbons - known as Dr Denis for his ability to fix any farming equipment - was a well-known local character who raised two-daughters, Anita and Debbie. He had been driving a Land Rover Defender when the crash happened on September 9, 2008.

“You do not expect them to go like that,” said Anita. “They’re here one minute and gone the next. We just have to carry on. That’s what he would have wanted. I just hope to God there’s nobody else who has to go through this.”

Ferriera-Cardosa was sentenced to four-years imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving when he appeared before Hereford Crown Court in April 2009. He had pleaded not guilty during the trial.

“The trial was far too long and we just went through great trauma really, the whole family” said Miss Gibbons. “He pleaded not guilty which was quite disgusting really.”

On Wednesday (March 10), the House of Commons Public Affairs Committee said not enough was being done to deal with potentially dangerous foreign lorries.

A report by the committee claimed they were responsible for one in ten lorry accidents despite making up just three per cent of lorries on the road.

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