Creswell man campaigns for driver legislation

a former coach driver from Creswell is campaigning for better rest conditions for workers after a fatal crash in France last month.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 2nd March 2012, 2:47 pm

Andrew Hardman, 54, who had to have his left arm amputated following a serious road crash in Belgium in 2007, said legislation urgently needs to change.

His words come after coach driver Derek Thompson admitted he ‘may have’ fallen asleep at the wheel before the 19th February crash in which teacher Peter Rippington died.

Mr Hardman said he had written to his MP Dennis Skinner back in 2006, urging the Government to change the law.

“It was an accident waiting to happen. This is not an attack on the coach companies but a plea to the Government to change legislation for better rest periods for drivers,” he said.

Current legislation means drivers working jointly on long-distance coach journeys don’t have to have separate bedrooms and often have to share.

Mr Hardman said this means drivers don’t get sufficient rest and sleep in between shifts, which can make driving extremely dangerous.

“Drivers, often completely strangers, are forced to share a room and if one or both have them snore or have sleep problems, it means they don’t get the rest the need,” he said.

“It’s worse than being married - you are together 24/7 and there is no respite. The next day you get up and you have anything up to 75 lives in your hands. Something needs to change.”

MP Dennis Skinner said Mr Hardman’s proposal was a ‘very important matter’.

“I have passed on his complaint to the Secretary of State Justine Greening, and in my point of view it is definitely a matter worth taking into consideration,” he said.