14th May 2014
A motorway accident that closed the M6 for 11 hours could lead to a man being imprisoned and facing a motor accident compensation claim from his victims' families.
This week, Malcolm Simpson from Selby attended South Cheshire magistrates' court in Crewe, charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, following the incident last September.
It is alleged that Mr Simpson was driving his HGV along the M6 at around 11am on 9th September last year when he collided with the 39- and 69-year-old victims as they changed a tyre on the hard shoulder of the southbound carriageway.
61 year-old Mr Simpson was arrested at the scene, whilst passing motorists had to be treated for shock and the emergency service personnel who attended the motorway accident were offered counselling.
Mr Simpson only spoke to confirm his name, age and address and was ordered to attend trial at Chester Crown Court on 22nd March. During the hearing in Crewe, he didn't submit a plea and was granted bail until the date in Chester.
Even though motorways are statistically safer than A roads and residential streets, any motorway accidents that do occur are often more severe due to the speeds involved. Worryingly, Admiral Insurance's 2010 survey of motorists found that 59 per cent of people think that the speed limit on motorways should go up to 80mph, whilst a further 17 per cent believe that it should go even higher.
Another survey from Think! tells us that a third of motorists think that it's fine to drive at 90mph on motorways as long as there is no visible traffic, although times when the road is clear are diminishing, with the Department for Transport (DfT) recognising that motorway traffic has increased by 27 per cent in the last decade.
To try and minimise your chances of needing to make a motor compensation claim, if you suffer a motorway accident you should park as far to the left of the hard shoulder as possible and turn on your hazard lights.
Once stopped, you should immediately get out of your vehicle via the left-side doors and contact the Highways Agency via the emergency roadside telephones which occur every mile. It's always better to use these, rather than mobile phones, as the emergency services will be able to locate the landlines more easily. After the call has been made, wait for help as far away from the carriageway as is practical.