Judge points finger at street lighting following fatal collision

21 February 2016

During the trial of Kiaran Giri (who admitted causing death by careless driving, but was acquitted by a jury of causing death by dangerous driving), Judge Huw Thomas QC remarked that, in turning off the street lighting on the road, Swansea Council “didn’t just cut costs, they cut public safety”—reported by the South Wales Evening post as “Judge highlights safety importance of street lights following road death”.

Giri was driving at an estimated 44mph in a 30 limit when he struck and killed Jayne Parker.

It is far from the first time that a lack of street lighting has been implicated in the death of a pedestrian struck by a driver; for example in the death of Cheryl Richards, where the driver was apparently only prosecuted with failing to stop at the scene of a collision, coroner Ian Singleton ruled that due to the lack of lighting “there was no way of avoiding Ms Richards”, whilst PC Andrew Grigg said “had anyone been driving at the speed limit [of 40mph] a collision would have been inevitable” in view of forward visibility in a car’s beams. The clear implications of the remarks is that drivers are expected to be able to proceed at the speed limit, regardless of visibility.

Highway Code rule 126 advises, “Drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear.” However, the Highway Code has no direct legal significance.

Comments

  1. Felixcat 22 February 2016 6:06pm #

    Highway Code 154 says the same. So good they said it twice.

    You are right. Drivers do not think they need to drive within their lights. What do they say when something rather more solid than a cyclist, but inanimate (like a fallen tree, or a boulder from the wall) appears out of the impenetrable darkness?
    “Wasn’t my fault.”?

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