Light shone on town hall road crashes

Almost 200 council vehicles have been involved in road traffic accidents in the past two years, figures show.
Wigan Town HallWigan Town Hall
Wigan Town Hall

Data acquired from a recent Freedom of Information request has revealed that from March 2015 to April 2017, 197 vehicles were involved in collisions, almost half of which were the fault of town hall workers.

A total of 94 incidents were caused by council staff, costing the authority’s insurance company £116,223 in third-party claims.

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Shockingly, the majority of these incidents (128 of all collisions) have involved “cleansing” vehicles, which includes street sweepers and waste refusal collection vans.

Karl Battersby, Wigan Council’s director for economy and environment said: “Our compliance and training for drivers has seen a reduction in third party registered claims over the past two years.

“All drivers receive annual CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) training and new drivers take part in a mentor programme with an experienced driver, filling in daily reports to monitor progress.

“Vehicle familiarisation is also carried out across the council by individual departments.”

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The council has also said that “false allegations” could be a reason for such a high number of reported incidents. Mr Battersby added: “There are a number of factors that can influence accident claims, such as; vehicle size, street size, poorly or illegally parked third party vehicles and false accusations.”

A full breakdown of council crash has been provided in the response to the request, showing that “grounds” vehicles were the second-highest service vehicles involved in a collision in the past two years (14 crashes), with building workforces coming third highest with 12 incidents, with eight highways vehicles also being caught up in incidents.

The list also includes vehicles used across a range of sectors including education, homecare, libraries, social services, transport and even a cemetery vehicle. None of involved pedestrians or cyclists.