A coroner has today ruled that the death of a motorcyclist killed in a head-on crash with a taxi was an 'unlawful killing'.
Mark Buckley from Mansfield died after the crash in March 2014, having suffered “unsurvivable” injuries.
Nottinghamshire Coroner’s Court was told the taxi driver, Kevin Wiesztort, was unfit to be on the road due to lack of sleep - and the coroner has now demanded changes to licensing rules.
Mr Buckley's partner Rachael Price told our reporter Charlotte Cross that she hopes those changes will save lives:
In a statement after the conclusion of the three-day inquest hearing, Ms Price said:
Mr Buckley, a father-of-three, was hit head-on in the crash with Wiesztort’s Fiat Doblò taxi, at around 5.30am on March 30, 2014 - Mother’s Day - as he travelled along the Derby Road in Kirkby-in-Ashfield.
Wiesztort had veered onto the wrong side of the road and smashed into Mr Buckley’s Yamaha, throwing him from the bike.
The court heard that less than two hours before the smash, Wiesztort’s customers David and Michelle Newton, who had been travelling from Mansfield to Birmingham Airport, had lodged a complaint with his employers Aaeron Cars.
They told the operator he should not be behind the wheel. He had been swerving between lanes, fluctuating speed without warning, and at one point took his jumper off over his head while on the M1, leaving them frightened for their lives.
The court heard that complaint was, in essence, ignored by the owners of Aaeron Cars, Dennis and Edna Lamb.
We caught up with Mr Lamb outside court on day two of the inquest:
Mansfield District Council’s licensing chiefs have now launched an urgent, 28-day review into Aaeron Cars’ operating licence, after what the court heard were repeated failures to meet standards.
Officials from councils across Nottinghamshire have also joined together to overhaul licensing standards, introducing new guidelines to restrict who can get a taxi driver or operator licence.
These include stricter fitness to drive testing, tighter monitoring of drivers’ hours, and every taxi firm having a proper complaints handling procedure.
In tribute, Mark’s family has described him as “thoughtful, funny and kind”.