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Crash investigator: Romford needs urgent change to prevent deaths

PUBLISHED: 11:16 05 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:26 05 November 2014

Flowers at the scene of the crash in Western road

Flowers at the scene of the crash in Western road

Archant

Urgent, life-saving changes are needed at the road where two civil partners were killed after a bus careered into them at a pedestrian crossing, a crash investigator has said.

Dave Holladay, who has been an investigator for 20 years and worked with Network Rail, is calling for a 10mph speed limit on Western Road, Romford, “with immediate effect”.

His call comes after 67-year-old bus driver Robert Todd, of Redden Court Road, Harold Wood, was jailed for two-and-a-half years after admitting two counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

Mr Holladay, of Glasgow, said that allowing frequent buses to drive at 30mph in the town centre street is “asking for trouble”.

He said: “The first anniversary of the fatal crash approaches and nothing has changed to stop a driver, or a pedestrian making a similar fatal error.”

Todd, an experienced bus driver, pulled away from a bus stop less than 20m from the pedestrian crossing and drove straight through it at 20mph – not noticing the red light.

Mr Holladay said if the driver has been restricted to go no faster than 10mph he would have been more likely to notice the crossing pedestrians and less likely to inflict fatal injuries.

Between 2011-13 there were 18 traffic incidents on Western Road including five at the same spot where Henry Keller and Colin Hicks, both 66 and of Stone Close, Dagenham, were killed.

Mr Holladay added that the bus stops should run straight to the road rather than be angled away from the pedestrian crossing, which should be changed to a zebra crossing so drivers don’t rely on the lights.

But Cllr Robert Benham, cabinet member for StreetCare, denied road design played a part in the deaths.

He said: “We must first acknowledge the tragic death of two well-loved members of our community - our thoughts remain with their families.

“The police and TfL accident report clearly stated that the driver failed to stop at the lights, which caused the fatal accident. There were other contributing factors, however, the existing safety measures on the road was not one of them.

“That being said, we’re looking to improve Western Road as part of wider changes to the town centre. As part of this, we’re exploring funding opportunities improve safety measures along the road.”

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