THE SYSTEM of applying for an LGV licence from the DVLA is “open to abuse”, an inquiry into the Glasgow bin lorry crash has heard.
Six people were killed when the bin lorry driven by Harry Clarke, 58, went out of control in the city centre on December 22 last year, with witnesses reporting that he appeared to lose consciousness at the wheel.
The fatal accident inquiry looking into the tragedy has already heard that Mr Clarke has a history of health issues including fainting, dizziness and stress dating back to the 1970s.
It has heard that he failed to disclose his health history to the DVLA and on job application forms.
The inquiry at Glasgow Sheriff Court was told today that when someone applies for a Group 2 or LGV licence, there is no system of cross-checking what the applicant says with their GP history.
Solicitor Advocate Ronald Conway, representing the family of victim Stephenie Tait, asked Dr Gareth Parry, a senior medical adviser for the DVLA, whether the system is “open to abuse”.
Dr Parry said: “Yes.”
Mr Conway also asked: “Particularly in the context of Group 2 licences, the current system exposes applicants to a huge level of temptation?”
Dr Parry replied: “Yes, I think there is an opportunity for that.”
The inquiry heard that GPs are not obliged to notify the DVLA if they tell a patient they are not fit to drive.
Mr Conway also referred to the DVLA at-a-glance guide for medical practitioners dated November 2014, which gives advice on assessing a patient’s fitness to drive.
He said: “I’m suggesting to you that in particular this document in its 2014 format lets down health practitioners and in particular GPs.”
Dr Parry said: “I would not disagree that the guidelines could be looked at.”
Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and Lorraine Sweeney, 69, from Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, died from multiple injuries after being hit by the truck.
Ms Tait, 29, and Jacqueline Morton, 51, both from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh, were also killed as the lorry travelled out of control along Queen Street and towards George Square before crashing into the side of the Millennium Hotel.