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  1. ITV Report

Safety recommendations following the M5 crash in Somerset

Visibility was very poor the night of the crash but fog detectors are not being recommended in the report Photo:

Details have finally been published of how safety can be improved on the M5 in Somerset - almost three years after one of the worst road accidents in living memory.

The bonfire night pile up near Taunton claimed the lives of seven people. An inquest concluded it had been caused by dense fog, possibly worsened by smoke from a fireworks display.

28 cars and six lorries were involved in the one of the worst motorway crashes this country has ever seen.

Seven people were killed and 51 injured on that fatal Bonfire Night in 2011 Credit: ITV News

Seven people were killed and another 51 were injured.

Terry Brice from Bristol died along with his work colleague Kye Thomas from Cornwall. Malcolm Beacham from Somerset was killed, as were grandparents Anthony and Pamela Adams from Newport, and Michael and Maggie Barton from Windsor.

They'd driven into a blanket of thick fog near junction 25 at Taunton. As well as the fog, There was also a fireworks display taking place at the nearby Taunton Rugby Club. Witnesses reported seeing smoke from the event drift across the carriageway.

Fireworks display organiser Geoffrey Counsell was cleared of charges relating to the crash but the report recommends extra training for displays Credit: PA

Organiser Geoffrey Counsell was originally charged with seven counts of manslaughter. But these charges were dropped and Mr Counsell was later cleared of breaching health and safety laws.

The aftermath of the crash on the M5 near Taunton Credit: ITV News

Documents published for the first time by the Somerset coroner reveal the results of consultations with Highways Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Business:

The Highways Agency says fog detectors are unlikely to reduce the risk of collisions BUT it will extend a hazard warning system from Junction 25 at Taunton all the way up to Junction 23 at Burnham.

The Health and Safety Executive does not think more controls on organised fireworks displays are practical. The Department for Business Innovation agrees with that.

But both organisations say that people authorised to let off fireworks at public displays should be given additional training in the effects of high humidity levels on visibility.

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