Heartbroken Family Speak Out About The Importance of Paying Attention to the Roads Whilst Driving Ahead Of Road Safety Week

Loving Husband and Father Killed After Being Knocked Down By Lorry Driver Who Failed To Pay Proper Attention

19.11.2014

The heartbroken family of a pensioner who was knocked down and killed when he was struck by a lorry have spoken out to raise awareness of the importance of drivers remaining focused on the road and avoiding distractions.

Thomas Ford was killed at the scene as he was knocked down crossing the road near his house in Corsham, Wiltshire, by lorry driver Andrew Greenhalgh on November 26 2012.

The lorry driver responsible was found guilty at trial of causing death by careless driving in April this year and had his conviction upheld by the Court of Appeal in October. He was initially sentenced to 300 hours community service, a 3 month curfew 6pm to 6am  and an 18 month driving ban which was reduced to 12 months on appeal. 

Despite Mr Ford having made it over three quarters of the way across the road at the point he was hit, Mr Greenhalgh failed to see him and so was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. Whilst it was dark at the time of the accident there was good street lighting and witnesses confirmed that Mr Ford was clearly visible both in the street lights and in the lights of the lorry. Mr Greenhalgh appears simply not to have been paying attention. 

Before he died, Thomas devoted his life to caring for his wife Bridget who suffered dementia and was completely dependent on him. His family are now speaking out in conjunction with the charity Brake’s Road Safety Week which runs from 17-23 November.

The theme for BRAKE’s Road Safety Week (17- 23 November) this year is ‘look out for each other’. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of making it safer for people to walk and cycle in their own community, for example people commuting or going to school, and cycling as a hobby.

This is an issue that serious injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell, representing Thomas’ family, say they repeatedly come across in their work securing justice and vital rehabilitation for victims of road traffic collisions.

Expert Opinion
As this case shows, the consequences of failing to be fully aware of other road users while driving can be fatal and devastating.

“Mr Ford was a healthy, active man who devoted his time to caring for his wife who suffered dementia. His death has had a huge impact on the entire family’s lives and they understandably wanted to see justice for this.

“Road Safety Week is a time for all road users to think about their actions and ensure they act appropriately to keep themselves and others safe on the roads. Research has shown that distractions while driving can increase the risk of accidents and highlights the importance of remaining fully focussed on the road whilst driving.

“We have long supported Brake and the fantastic work it does raising awareness of safety on Britain’s roads. We hope this year’s road safety week makes people think twice about driving carelessly as Thomas’ case shows the devastating consequences it can have.”
Deborah Rose, Associate
Thomas’ son-in-law Rod Vennell said: “It has been an extremely upsetting and stressful time for Tom’s family and whilst we are glad that Mr Greenhalgh has been found guilty by the Courts, we are keen to raise awareness of the terrible consequences failing to keep your attention on the road while driving can have.

“Tom was still very active for his age and was a true family man, determined to care for Bridget so she could stay at home with him. Sadly she died last year.

“His death has left such a huge hole in all of our lives and two years on we are still struggling to come to terms with it. We just hope that it wasn’t in vain and that by speaking out we remind motorists to keep their full attention on the road.”