23 February 2021 by James Langley

Legal case after 2014 Glasgow RCV fatalities

Glasgow city council’s insurers are suing First Bus, the former employer of Harry Clarke, the driver of a refuse collection vehicle which careered into pedestrians in the city just before Christmas in 2014.

The insurers are suing the bus company over the job reference the firm had provided for Mr Clarke.

The bin lorry crashed on Queen Street in Glasgow just before Christmas in 2014, killing six people

A hearing, expected to take place later this year, will consider whether First Bus acted negligently by allegedly failing to provide an accurate reference. The council says the insurers’ position is that First Bus should be jointly liable for the damages.

Mr Clarke collapsed at the wheel of the council waste collection vehicle in Glasgow city centre on 22 December 2014, causing the lorry to leave the road (see letsrecycle.com story). Six people were killed and a further 15 were injured.

A council spokesman told letsrecycle.com: “The case is between our insurers and First Bus and, as such, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

The council says its insurers have negotiated claims with several people injured in the incident, as well as the families of the deceased. It says that though there was never any finding against the council suggesting it could have prevented the incident or that there were failures in its systems of working, it does bear some “vicarious liability”.


Mr Clarke resigned from his position at the local authority on 30 October 2015, just before he was set to attend a disciplinary hearing (see letsrecycle.com story).

A Fatal Accident Inquiry in 2015 found that there were a total eight reasonable precautions that individuals and organisations could have taken that would have prevented the six deaths (see letsrecycle.com story). Five of these were against the driver and one his GP, the council says. It added that, of the remaining two, one was against First Bus and the other was against the doctor contracted by First Bus.

Then 63, Mr Clarke’s health and wellbeing at the time has been called into question. The 2015 inquiry heard how Mr Clarke had visited the doctor several times since the 1970s with various complaints including dizziness, vertigo and stress. He is said not to have disclosed his medical background to his employers or the DVLA.


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