Benjamin Waidhofer, instructed by Fadi Daoud at Lawrence & Co CDS LLP was instructed to represent the driver of an articulated lorry which had been involved in a fatal collision along a stretch of the M25 designated as a ‘smart motorway’.

The articulated lorry had collided with a stationary car in the nearside lane and – following a lengthy investigation – the driver was charged with two offences of causing death by dangerous driving and a single offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Detailed information was provided on the driver’s behalf long before the trial and – shortly before he trial began – the prosecution conceded that the allegation of ‘dangerous driving’ could no longer be maintained.  The case was resolved by pleas of ‘guilty’ to two offences of causing death by careless driving which had previously been refused out of hand.  The driver was sentenced to a 4 month suspended prison sentence.

The gap between emergency refuge areas at the point of collision was 1.5 miles (approximately 2,500 metres) and, had there been a hard shoulder or emergency refuge area in that part of the M25, the collision would not have occurred.  There were also no gantry warning signs on the approach to the stationary vehicle.

The case has been reported nationally [here] and locally [here].

No doubt the facts of this case were carefully considered by the Department for Transport’s review into the use of smart motorways nationally which culminated in a report and 18-point plan announced on 12 March 2020 [here].

Those charged with driving offences, particularly offences involving dangerous driving and causing death by driving would be well-placed to seek expert legal advice and assistance as soon as practicable.  Given the original charges, it is clear there was every possibility of this case concluding with a very different outcome.

Benjamin Waidhofer is frequently instructed to defend individuals charged with road traffic offences.

Any queries about this matter, or any other, ought to be addressed to clerks@foundrychambers.com.