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'Don't let tiredness at the wheel kill others like my Nicola' - mum

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Tragic Nicola Kenny (inset) was killed when a lorry veered off the road and hit her vehicle

Tragic Nicola Kenny (inset) was killed when a lorry veered off the road and hit her vehicle

Tragic Nicola Kenny (inset) was killed when a lorry veered off the road and hit her vehicle

The family of a young mum who died in a crash while on her way to see her day-old baby in hospital has pleaded with drivers to be aware of how tiredness kills.

Nicola Kenny (26) was killed by a truck driven by a man who had had less than five hours' sleep and who gardai believed had not taken the proper breaks.

The tragic mum was being driven to see her baby Lily Rose, who had been transferred to hospital in Dublin for specialist care after her birth in South Tipperary General Hospital.

While on the M8 at Dogstown, between the Cahir and Cashel exits, Nicola received a phone call and her aunt Irene, who was driving, pulled in to the hard shoulder so she could take the call.

Impact

It was a staff member from Temple Street Hospital telling her Lily Rose was fine and there was no need to travel to Dublin.

But moments later, the truck veered off the motorway and crashed into the back of the car. Nicola was in the back seat and bore the brunt of the impact.

She died at the scene, on September 5, 2016.

Irene and Nicola's mother Ann, who was in the front passenger seat, were injured.

An inquest last week found Nicola's death was accidental, as a result of multiple traumatic injuries consistent with a road traffic collision.

Tipperary coroner Paul Morris issued a special appeal for commercial vehicle operators to comply with all tachograph safety guidelines as he stressed the case underlined the appalling consequences of fatigue.

Ann Kenny echoed that call yesterday, saying it only takes a split second for a tragedy to happen.

"It's obvious that driver fatigue happened that day. Everyone knows that," Ann told the Herald.

"The coroner said people need to be more aware of the dangers of driver tiredness and I agree with him.

"This is very hard on our family. I didn't go to the inquest myself. I stayed at home and looked after Lily Rose.

"She comes first. I have to look after her, she is number one.

"The inquest is out of the way now, but it's not getting any easier for us. It's something we have to live with. Lily Rose is none the wiser. Thankfully she's thriving."

Truck driver Ciaran McBride, from Keady, Co Armagh, was given a suspended prison sentence last year after he pleaded guilty to careless driving causing death.

The Circuit Court trial heard the tachograph on his lorry was found not to be working properly because the recording disc had been incorrectly inserted.

The driver had gone to bed at midnight and got up at 4.30am to go to work.

He drove from his Armagh home to Kells, then on to Cork and was on his way back to Kells when the collision occurred.

He had driven a total of 470km since he left home.

The driver insisted to gardai that he had taken the required breaks of 15 minutes and 30 minutes during that period.

Because the tachograph was not working properly, gardai could not verify the details.

However, the Circuit Court heard that officers disputed the stop periods claimed as the lorry was equipped with a toll scanner.

When they recreated the journey from its details, they found the trip did not match the claimed driver breaks.


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