View Full Version : Fatal accident inquiry concludes

02-Sep-14, 17:55
Husband bears driver who killed wife no grudge
BEREAVED husband Chris Dunne said he bore no grudge towards the elderly woman who was driving the car which collided with him and his wife, at Auckengill, killing her.
In his first interview since the tragedy, the electronics engineer said of the accident: "We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Mr Dunne said that the fact his wife Elaine is no longer with him has not sunk in. He had to learn to walk all over again such were the injuries he sustained in the accident. Mrs Ross, 93, had no recollection of colliding with the couple and wasn't informed about it until two hours afterwards.
Mr Dunne was speaking after returning home, having sat in at the inquiry in the opening days.
He said: "I bear no grievance towards Mrs Ross. The accident was one of those things that happen. A policeman told me at the crash scene that I had more chance of winning the lottery than having the tragedy happen to me."
The couple were on their way home from a cycling holiday when the accident, on September 21, 2011, happened. Mrs Ross's car suddenly veered onto the wrong side and ploughed into the couple from Leicester who had stopped to don rainwear. Mr Dunne sustained multiple injuries.
Mr Dunne reiterated his call for tougher tests for elderly drivers to ensure they were fit to drive and a consultant suggested at the final day of inquiry suggested that one step that could be taken, was to review the current, three-yearly self-certification and reduce it to two years.
But Dr Sarah Keir, a consultant specialising in gerriatric medicine, who was giving evidence on the final day of an inquiry to the death of Elaine Dunne, in a road accident, ruled out mandatory testing.
Mrs Ross was believed to have taken a "funny turn", or blackout.
Dr Keir, who practices at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, was asked what safety consideration could be given for licensing drivers over the age of 80.
She described it as "a contentious issue" and it was important that older people were able to drive, particularly significant in remoter areas. In some cases, the drivers might be reluctant to approach their GP with a problem if they thought it might lead to them losing their licences.
Dr Keir said that it would be "sensible " to consider steps to help ensure that the over 80s were fit to drive and respond to situations on the road, particularly when the incidence of strokes, blackouts and dementia were more prevalent.
She went on: "People are living longer but as you get over 80, it is much more likely that these conditions will be much more common. There has been a steady increase in people with conditions that could potentially impair their driving." Dr Keir suggested that the self- certification period be reduced from three years to two years.
She rejected the suggestion for mandatory testing of over 80 drivers to check for blackout problems arguing that it would be an involved procedure and in some cases it could raise a small risk. She also made the point that with 230,000 people over the age of 80 in Scotland, such testing would not be feasible.
Mr Hugh Olson, advocate, representing licensing authority, the DVLA made the point in response to Dr Keir's suggestion for two-year certifications for those with health problems, and argued drivers would presumably make these known to their GPs more frequently, anyway.
Dr Keir replied: "Yes if they have such conditions"
Sheriff Andrew Berry will consider written submissions from Mr Olson, solicitor James McMillan, for Alice Ross and Alasdair MacDonald for the Crown, before giving his written response.
Mrs Ross, a retired shopkeeper from the village of Lybster, who apologised for causing the tragedy at an earlier sitting of the inquiry, gave up driving after the accident and surrendered her licence.