FAILURE OF DRIVER TO KEEP A TRAILER TO HIS OWN SIDE OF THE ROAD

An Audi car being driven by McKee was travelling west along Mauldslie Road, a two lane single carriageway road near Carluke. He was travelling well above the 60mph speed limit. As he took a left-hand bend, he encountered a pickup truck with a trailer attached, being driven by Tough, which was travelling in the opposite direction.

As the vehicles passed, the trailer’s offside wheels were fully across the white centre line and caused the trailer to collide with the front of the Audi car. This collision caused the Audi to lose control and collide with a vehicle that was travelling behind the truck.

The Audi driver raised an action against the driver of the pickup truck and his insurers.

At Proof, the judge considered whether the trailer had been significantly in the westbound lane when the collision took place and thus whether the driver of the truck was responsible for both collisions. The judge also had to consider whether the positioning of the trailer or the Audi driver’s speed would be the primary cause of the accident.

The judge found that the trailer had been around one fifth into the westbound lane. He then stated,

“In the circumstances, a reasonably competent driver exercising reasonable care would not have failed to prevent the trailer from entering the westbound lane to a significant degree” before finding that the truck driver had breached this duty and had therefore caused the collisions.

The judge then went on to consider the Audi driver’s contribution to the accident as a result of his driving at excessive speed. The judge found that the speed the Audi driver had been travelling at, reduced his reaction time and commented

“If he had been travelling at or below the speed limit he may have been able to take action to avoid a collision with the trailer.”

In apportioning blame, the Judge found the truck driver to be more at fault. Had his trailer not been in the westbound lane, it is likely that the accident would not have happened but the speed of the Audi was not an insignificant contributory factor to the first collision.

CAR DRIVER (MCKEE) 25% TO BLAME            PICKUP DRIVER (TOUGH) 75% TO BLAME

Due to his excessive speed, the car driver only recovered 75% of the damages he was entitled to.

The Judge determined that the positioning of the trailer had been the most significant factor in the collisions, but not the only factor, as the Audi driver may have been able to avoid the first collision if he had not been travelling at excessive speed.

The full decision can be viewed here.

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