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'Tiredness kills, tragic case of new mum Nicola proves it', says coroner

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Nicola Kenny died when a lorry drove into the back of her parked car

Nicola Kenny died when a lorry drove into the back of her parked car

PA

Nicola Kenny died when a lorry drove into the back of her parked car

A coroner has appealed to commercial vehicle operators to comply with tachograph safety guidelines.

A tachograph system is a piece of equipment that records a driver's speed and distance covered and helps comply with EU rules, including how much rest a driver has taken.

Paul Morris made the plea after hearing harrowing details surrounding the death of a young mum travelling to hospital to see her sick newborn baby.

The Tipperary coroner was told that Nicola Kenny (28) died when a Volvo lorry veered on to the hard shoulder and hit the parked car in which she was travelling.

Driver fatigue was said to be a contributory cause.

Mr Morris said Ms Kenny's death underlined the consequences of driver fatigue, and appealed to commercial vehicle operators to comply with tachograph safety guidelines.

The lorry driver said he was distracted by a bout of sneezing, but fatigue was said to be a contributing factor in the tragedy.

injUries

The young Thurles mother died instantly from multiple injuries when the car in which she was a back-seat passenger was hit from behind.

The car had pulled on to the hard shoulder to allow her take a phone call from a Dublin hospital to say her baby girl was fine and would be transferred to Tipperary from Temple Street Children's Hospital.

Mr Morris said: "It really does highlight the truth of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) campaign, which is reflected in signs on the motorways that tiredness kills," he said. "If ever there was a case that highlights the truth of that, this is it.

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The crash scene

The crash scene

The crash scene

"Drivers in commercial vehicles with tachograph systems should abide by safe driving times and take the appropriate rest periods to avoid fatigue and danger to other road users."

Ms Kenny had given birth in Tipperary to baby Lily Rose on September 4, 2016.

However, the baby was seriously ill and was transferred to Dublin for specialist care.Ms Kenny - having just given birth - was unable to accompany the child.

She and her mother, Ann, were travelling to Dublin the next day to see Lily Rose in a car driven by her aunt, Irene Whelan Slattery.

Between Junctions 10 and 9 of the M8 Dublin-Cork motorway, Ms Kenny received a call from the hospital, and her aunt pulled on to the hard shoulder so the call could be heard.

Seconds later, the car was hit from behind by the lorry. The car was driven down a grass embankment.

Last May, Armagh lorry driver Ciaran McBride (34) pleaded guilty before Tipperary Circuit Criminal Court to careless driving causing death.

prison

He received an 18-month suspended prison sentence after the court heard that he was profoundly remorseful over what had happened.

Garda Declan Corrigan said the car had pulled over on to the hard shoulder at about 12.25pm to allow Ms Kenny to take a phone call from Temple Street Children's Hospital.

"The call was to tell Nicola that the baby was fine, and that there was no need to travel to Dublin," he said.

A passing motorist, Pat Foley, told gardai he saw the lorry "slowly veering off the road and on to the hard shoulder".

The trial judge said he believed driver fatigue was a contributing factor in the tragedy.


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