Lorry Driver Crashes After Sleeping At Wheel

Collision after driver fell asleep

26.02.2008

The driver of a lorry, who fell asleep at the wheel, leading to a collision with a car and the death of its driver, has been jailed.

After admitting causing death by dangerous driving, Hayden Bailey, 54, of Birchgrove Close, Newport was jailed for 10 months and banned from driving for three years.

The 18-tonne lorry hit a crash barrier on the A48 in Cardiff, crossing the central reservation to the other carriageway and into the car being driven by Mr Nicholls.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Bailey was returning from delivering bread. Mr Nicholls died at the scene and his wife Evelyn, 68, also suffered serious injuries.

The court heard medical tests since the incident showed Bailey suffers from severe obstructive sleep apnoea, a breathing condition which interferes with deep sleep and causes excessive tiredness during the day.

David Urpeth, a Partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "As this tragic case demonstrates, road traffic accidents involving large vehicles such as lorries or coaches often result in serious or fatal consequences. In this case, it was discovered after the road traffic collision that the driver had severe obstructive sleep apnoea.

"Sleep specialists, Respironics, conducted research which showed that as many as one in six, or 80,000 UK HGV drivers suffer from this disorder. This is a shocking finding when we realise that drivers are not routinely tested for the condition.

"I believe that until we see test for the condition, we will continue to see many more serious and fatal road accidents as a result of drivers falling asleep at the wheel."