The two truck drivers involved in the fatal M1 collision last August have been sentenced and both have received prison terms. Ryszard Masierak was given 14 years for causing death by dangerous driving while David Wagstaff got three years and four months for causing death by careless driving.
There can be no doubt it was Masierak’s actions which caused the tragedy. He was over the legal alcohol limit for driving – a crime in its own right, but worse when in charge of a 44-tonne truck. Then, he inexplicably stopped his truck in an active lane of a busy motorway. Why he didn’t move into the hard shoulder, only he knows. That resulted in him leaving his vehicle as a stationary obstacle on the motorway.
In short, if he had not undertaken these unforgivable actions, the accident would not have happened. Wagstaff’s careless driving obviously then had the devastating results.
It’s not the first instance where careless driving has had fatal results, it came about a year after Tomasz Kroker killed a mother and her three children because he was not concentrating on the road while using his phone.
These collisions highlight how driving trucks, over long distances, especially at night, and on motorways, can lead to boredom amongst drivers. I am not excusing Wagstaff, or indeed Kroker, in any way shape or form and they are rightly serving prison sentences as a result.
Rather than going over the accident again, we should learn from it. All operators need to remind drivers of their duties and also the consequences of their actions.
Just remember, every time you get in the cab you are in charge of a machine which, if used incorrectly, can have the capability to cause untold damage. But only if it’s not handled properly. And yes, I know, other the poor driving of motorists are a major, major problem, but truck drivers can play their part in keeping the roads safe. Thankfully, Masierak, Kroker and Wagstaff are in a minority and the vast, vast majority of drivers do their job day in, day out with first class professionalism.