Teviothead fatal crash driver suffered 'loss of orientation'

Published
Image source, Google
Image caption,
The accident happened on the A7 near Teviothead in the Scottish Borders

A man at the wheel of a lorry involved in a fatal crash should not have been driving after previous "dizziness" episodes, a sheriff has ruled.

John Power suffered a "sudden loss of orientation due to a medical event" in the accident on the A7 near Teviothead.

James Miller, 64, of Hawick, died when the lorry Mr Power was driving veered across the road and hit his car.

A sheriff concluded a doctor should have advised him not to drive a vehicle of any type.

The fatal accident inquiry into the accident in December 2015 was held over four days at Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

'Disabling attacks'

It heard how a Renault box lorry being driven by Mr Power struck Mr Miller's Vauxhall Cavalier and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

It emerged that Mr Power had been advised by his doctor "not to drive a HGV" after suffering two "disabling attacks" in June and October 2015 in the course of his deliveries.

However, the inquiry heard that after considering a letter by Dr Paul Davies of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, Mr Power and his employer J Dickinson Transport Limited of Longtown felt it was safe for him to drive a 7.5 tonne lorry due to the group 2 licence he held.

They highlighted a DVLA guideline - described as an "anomaly" - stating that as he had held a driving licence prior to 1997 he had an additional entitlement to drive a lorry up to 7.5 tonnes.

Sought clarification

However, during the course of his evidence Dr Davies indicated that when giving his advice what he really meant by the term HGV was lorry.

In his determination, Sheriff Peter Paterson said Dr Davies should have more fully considered the DVLA guidance and advised Mr Power not to drive a vehicle of any type.

He accepted the letter which advised him to "not drive a HGV" was confusing but the sheriff added that on receipt of the letter in October 2015 Mr Power should have sought clarification from either Dr Davies or his own GP .

Sheriff Paterson concluded his 15-page determination stating how moving he had found the letter addressed to the court about the effect Mr Miller's death has had on his whole family.