Irwin Mitchell Calls For Greater Road Safety After Delivery Driver Left Unable To Work
A delivery driver who may never be able to return to his job after he was seriously injured when a 40 tonne lorry careered into the back of his van on the M1 has spoken for the first time about his determination to get his life back on track – 15 months after the high speed crash.
49-year-old Stuart Buss had slowed down for stationary traffic between junctions 29 and 28 of the motorway but was struck from behind by a lorry, which did not slow down and sent Stuart’s van careering through the central reservation and onto the other side of the carriageway.
The father of two had to be cut from the wreckage by the fire service at the scene of the horrific incident. Stuart was left unconscious and suffered broken ribs and a severely fractured arm, which has required numerous operations and skin grafts, as well as leaving Stuart with a metal plate in his arm. In addition to his physical injuries, he has suffered flashbacks and still has anxieties about driving on motorways.
Stuart fears that, even if he can recover psychologically from the travel anxiety he suffers, his arm will never be strong enough for him to return to vocational driving after the incident which occurred on the stretch of motorway near Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
Serious injury experts at Irwin Mitchell, who are working with Stuart to secure funding for vital rehabilitation treatment to help his recovery, are now urging motorists to stay more alert on the roads to prevent life-changing injuries after Stuart, from Miles Hill, Leeds, was left with long term difficulties as a result of his March 2011 ordeal.
Stuart said he was also bitterly disappointed to see that the man responsible for the crash, Christopher Brennan, had only received a small fine for the incident which changed Stuart’s life forever. Having been found not guilty of an original charge of dangerous driving, Brennan was convicted at Derby Magistrates’ Court last month of the lesser charge of careless driving.
The crash occurred when Stuart slowed down as his van approached a build-up of traffic from an earlier incident. Despite turning on his hazard lights, Brennan, following behind, failed to notice, with the lorry’s tachograph, or ‘black box’, showing no signs that the driver braked before slamming into the back of Stuart’s van at around 55mph.
Stuart said: “It seems completely unfair that my life has been turned upside down by the crash and he is able to carry on his life as normal. Driving was my career and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to drive for a living again.
“It pains me to think that the man responsible for my condition was free to leave court and get back behind the wheel to drive himself home. Not only that, but giving him a meagre £135 fine just adds insult to injury.
“I’ve had to undergo surgery a number of times and even needed a skin graft from my leg to my right arm. Despite all this, my arm is still not very strong and the fractures have not properly healed.
“The injuries haven’t just affected me physically. The scarring on my arm and leg act as a regular reminder of the collision, and I also suffer from travel anxiety about being on motorways, which, along with the weakness in my arm, means I doubt I will ever
be able to return to my job as a delivery driver.
“My life will never be the same again, but I’m determined that with the right care and support I can make a good recovery, put everything behind me and get my life back on track.”
Bethany Sanders, a serious injury expert at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Stuart suffered life-changing injuries as a result of somebody else’s careless and reckless driving, and sadly he will have to live with these injuries for the rest of his life.
“While we are disappointed at the outcome of the criminal case, the least he now deserves is to be able to access the very best care and rehabilitation available and we are working to secure funds to cover the cost of this.
“Nothing can put Stuart’s life back to how it was before the incident, but we’re committed to ensuring he can make the best possible recovery.
“Motorists need to remember that driving a vehicle without giving it your full attention can pose a great danger to others. Sadly, we have seen that here and we only hope this serves as a warning to others to make sure they stay alert on the roads.”