Saturday, 17 December 2016

A letter to Smiths of Gloucestershire, re the blind overtake of their van VE08NKX


I'm the cyclist the driver of your van VE08NKX chose to overtake on a blind corner on Belmont Hill, Somerset, at 15:46 on 25 November.

I'm the cyclist who shouted a warning to your driver that there was an oncoming car —a warning he chose to ignore:

And I'm the cyclist who videoed your van nearly hitting the oncoming car.

That car braked to avoid a collision, incidentally, and we both waved an acknowledgement to each other of how close it had been.

I've not got in touch before; I was waiting to see how Avon and Somerset Police were going to respond to the complaint that I'd filed online with them. As the time limit for them to file a Notice of Impending Prosecution has expired and they are yet to get in touch, the answer is: nothing.

Your driver has to consider themselves lucky to have not only avoided a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle, but to avoid any form of punishment from the police for nearly doing so. That is despite the irrefutable video evidence showing them ignoring a shouted warning and overtaking where they had no visibility. If A&S Police were to adopt the prosecute-on-video-evidence policy which the Central Midlands Police are now operating, they would now be facing a choice between prosecution to Dangerous Driving or pleading guilty to the lesser offence of Careless Driving.

As it is: no prosecution, no pleading, no penalty, no points on their license, and no insurance premium.

That fact reflects as badly on our local police as it does on your employee.

Given the police's utter inaction, you can report to your driver that this particular near-crash won't result in any prosecution.

However, you do need to consider your brand tainted. It's clear from your website that you take site safety as seriously as it needs to be —but it's also clear from the video that your staff are treating off site safety with utter disdain. This driver endangered other road users in a van with your business name and telephone number painted on three sides of the vehicle, making identifying this employer trivial. The more incidents like this, the more videos of your drivers will go online, the more that safety theme gets devalued.

Please: tell your driver that in a world of helmet cameras and dashcams —the era of "getting away" with dangerous driving is over. If they drive dangerously in their free time, it is only the lives of themselves and others and their own driving license which they endanger. When they do it in company vehicles, it is your vehicles they are also threatening, your insurance premiums they are risking, and your brand that they are destroying,

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