The Highways Agency has been blamed for “systemic failures” which led to the death of Lucy Boughton, a student from Sevenoaks in a road traffic accident.
When and where did the accident happen?
24th October 2011 on the stretch of the A21 between Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge where it becomes a dual carriageway.
What did the Coroner find?
On 24th April 2013, Coroner Roger Hatch ruled that Lucy’s car skidded off the A21 because of the failure of the Highways Agency to maintain the road despite evidence of a worsening safety record.
Who was in the car at the time?
The car was being driven by Lucy’s sister as they headed home to Sevenoaks from dinner in Tunbridge Wells. It was pouring down with rain at the time. Lucy’s sister recalled:
“Halfway round the bend I felt the back of the car slip out and we started going towards the other side of the road. I called out to Lucy and she replied in panic ‘Oh my God.’ The next thing I recall is coming to and seeing headlights lighting up the tree trunks.”
What did the Accident Investigator say?
Alexandra Luck, a consultant employed by Kent Police to investigate the accident said:
“Kent County Council received complaints in 2009 and 2010 about the safety of the road – in its response in 2010 it said that high friction surfacing would be laid in January 2011, but this was not carried out. I believe that there have been significant systemic failures to maintain the highway, despite a worsening safety record.”
What Do The Specialists Say?
Carter & Carter Solicitors in Stockport commented on this latest finding earlier:
“Sadly, this isn’t the first time that a car has been involved in a serious accident due to the road conditions. When heavy rain occurs after a dry spell the surface of a road can instantly go from being full of grip to treacherous. We have acted for numerous people who have been injured as a result of poor road surfaces where the Council has decided that funds would be spent better elsewhere. Councils have a statutory duty under the Highways Act 1980 to maintain roads at the public expense although they are free to prioritise which roads are treated first.”
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