Families of victims killed by lorry driver call for him to be banned from HGVs for life

The families of Eilidh Cairns and Nora Gutman have called for HGV driver Joao Lopes to be banned from driving for life.

For causing death while driving without his prescription glasses Lopes received only a six-year driving ban and four years in prison.

For falsifying his tachograph he received a one-year jail term to be served concurrently (ie, only four years in total).

The court heard that in the period between Lopes' two fatal crashes, he was also involved in numerous minor collisions, damaging property and narrowly avoiding causing serious injury to other road users.

Martin Porter QC details these crashes on his blog:

  1. In July 2009 [Lopes] drove into the rear of another vehicle causing £3,000 worth of damage.
  2. In August 2010 he was involved in a collision though he disputes this was his fault and the Judge therefore rightly disregarded it.
  3. In March 2011 he collided with a parked motor vehicle and failed to stop, as a consequence of which he was dismissed by his then employer. 
  4. In June 2011, shortly before he killed Ms Gutmann, he attempted to overtake a minicab so closely that he removed the wing mirror.

In a joint press release, the families of Eilidh Cairns (above right) and Nora Gutmann (above left) said:

"The failure on the part of authorities to properly protect cyclists and pedestrians on our streets, or to treat these deaths as real crime, is a cause for shame not pride.

"We're calling for the judge at Isleworth Crown Court to permanently revoke the license of Joao Lopes, who has killed not one but two Londoners."

The London Cycling Campaign is calling for hauliers and drivers to be made more responsible in the courts as part our of long-running No More Lethal Lorries campaign.