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Belgian driver is first to be jailed after fatigue fatality

15th February 1996
Page 10
Page 10, 15th February 1996 — Belgian driver is first to be jailed after fatigue fatality
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

• A Belgian lorry driver who killed a Nottinghamshire moped rider because of driver fatigue has been been jailed for three years.

Driver Eddy de Meersman is thought to be the first driver in the UK whose hours offences led to a conviction for causing death by dangerous driving.

A jury of eight women and four men at Nottingham Crown Court took three hours to reach a unanimous verdict after hearing that de Meersman drove for more than 14 hours in a 27-hour period.

Justice Bennett said that de Meersman had deliberately disregarded EC regulations governing mandatory breaks. "I expect that your employers

must have put you under a lot of pressure to drive without getting the necessary sleep," he said. "But you were a willing participant in taking a deliberate and calculated risk."

De Meersman, 27, who pleaded not guilty, took brief break, in the 27 hours leading up to the accident but they were nowhere near the statutory minimum.

Transcripts of telephone conversations from de Meersman's cab to his bosses in Belgium indicated that he was anxious to stop for a break but his employers had instructed him to continue.

A witness who followed the lorry for eight miles before the accident described how it had weaved over the road.


Organisations: Nottingham Crown Court

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