Family Of Man Killed In M27 Road Crash Call For Road Safety Improvements

Driver Responsible For Crash Sentenced After Admitting Causing Death By Careless Driving


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The family of a Southampton dad who was killed in a crash on the M27 in March this year say they hope the tragedy leads to road safety improvements and sends out a message for drivers to take more responsibility after the man responsible was jailed for 10 months.

Kevin Burton, 45, was killed when his car was hit by an articulated lorry on the M27 eastbound near junction 9 at Whiteley. The driver of the lorry had put the vehicle into cruise control despite there being slow moving rush hour traffic. The incident closed the motorway for almost 24 hours as recovery work and road resurfacing took place to ensure it was safe.

His widow Rachael, 44, instructed specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the incident and speaking today as the driver was given his sentence, she said she the family was still devastated by their loss.

The driver pleaded guilty to death by careless driving and was sentenced to 15 months in prison reduced to 10 months because of his guilty plea. He will also serve a three year driving ban from the time he is released.

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“This was a terrible, but avoidable, incident which has left the family struggling to come to terms with their loss. This is a particularly difficult time of year for them as they face their first Christmas without Kevin. They hope that this tragedy will send out a message to all other drivers to take more responsibility for their actions on the road and consider the often serious consequences of careless driving.

“It also cannot be ignored that this part of the motorway is a known blackspot for accidents and it’s clear that more needs to be done, not only by drivers but in terms of ensuring measures to improve the road infrastructure to be able to cope with the volume of traffic are implemented as soon as possible.”
Claire Howard, Partner

Rachael Burton said: “As each week passes we increasingly recognise how much of the man we miss; his love and encouragement as a dad and husband, his support as a brother, uncle and son, his skills and generosity as a colleague and friend.

“Kevin should have had a full life and now that has been denied to him, it is that we feel most sadness about, he will never get to hug his son when he finishes his GCSE's or walk his little girl down the aisle on her wedding day. No family should loose someone close to them in this way and not be able to have said goodbye. I suppose that's the bitter cruelty of death in a road collision.

“I am relieved that justice has prevailed and that there has been a custodial sentence put in place to serve as retribution for what happened to Kevin. Only Mr Bingham truly knows why he failed to see queuing traffic on the M27 that day, but driving a DAF lorry in busy 9am rush hour traffic with cruise control on was a poor decision to take and one which resulted in the death of our Kevin and several other people's injuries.”

Rachael says she hopes changes will be made to the road network to improve safety further. She added: “I hope that in the near future road planners will take a good look at the traffic flow problems found at Whiteley's junction 9, with a view to constructing a safer filter road off the eastbound motorway there, such as that found along the westbound exit. Indeed, as settlements such as Welborne get constructed along the M27 corridor, real consideration needs to be given not only to traffic flow but also road safety, as an increasing number of road users filter in onto that route.

“Here on the south coast we live in a very crowded part of Britain and I would ask my fellow 'experienced' motorway drivers to think back to when they first started driving, I would ask you to observe safe stopping distances, check your mirrors regularly - see who is in your blind spot, signal clearly when you manoeuvre and take a little more time with your journey, arrive at your destination five minutes late and alive! Don't be the reason why another family goes through Christmas without their daddy.”