The dangers of not applying your van handbrake

A stark warning has been delivered to van drivers to ensure they apply the handbrake everytime they park, after a careless delivery driver was convicted on two counts of causing death by careless driving.

Of course this comes as no surprise to experienced van drivers. When constantly hopping in and out of the van making drops, and especially when you’re in a rush, it does sometime slip the mind to ensure the handbrake is securely applied.

Larkland May, 52, of Willesden, north London, was working as a senior driver for the office supplies company, Lyreco, when he parked his Mercedes Sprinter van in London to make a delivery in April 2009.

In a terrible twist of fate, Mr May failed to properly secure the van in accordance with the Highway Code. He failed to apply the handbrake, leave the vehicle in gear or turn the wheels towards the kerb to secure its position. A vehicle then hit the unsecured van, sending it rolling uncontrollably down a hill. It then struck and killed two pedestrians. Prosecutor Christopher Hehir, of Southwark Crown Court, said the incident was “an accident waiting to happen”.

He added: “In such circumstances it is vitally important your vehicle’s handbrake is properly applied. That’s simple common sense.”

An individual is guilty of causing death by dangerous driving if the standard of their driving falls below that you would expect of a prudent and competent driver. Parking forms an integral part of driving a vehicle and failing to secure the vehicle sufficiently is deemed as acting carelessly.

The court was told the van was mechanically sound at the time of the incident. Mr May was due to be sentenced on 1 October.

This incident just goes to show you can never be complacent behind the wheel of a van, no matter how competent a driver you consider yourself to be. To compare van insurance and ensure you are covered should any such unforeseen event occur, visit Van Compare.

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