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Coroner Calls for Change in Law after Fatal Bus Accident

Coroner Calls for Change in Law after Fatal Bus Accident

The family of a pensioner who died after being thrown out of her seat when a bus she was travelling on braked suddenly has backed a coroner’s report calling for safety changes on public transport.

Muriel Naylor, 79, was making her way home from a shopping trip to Oldham Town Centre on 19th November 2011 when the Stagecoach bus she had boarded was forced to brake sharply. 

The grandmother-of-eight, who was sat in the designated area for the elderly, was sent flying out of her seat, across the empty wheelchair space and head first into the barriers in front. Mrs Naylor, from Failsworth, Greater Manchester, was rushed to Royal Oldham Hospital by ambulance but died later the same day.

A two-day Inquest into Mrs Naylor’s death in January delivered a narrative verdict which stated the pensioner died as a result of serious injuries in the crash which could have been prevented had different safety procedures been in place.

A coroners report drafted in the wake of the Inquest has now called for legislation to be introduced to reduce the risk of further deaths to passengers on buses.

The investigation concluded the 900 double-decker Alexander Dennis Enviro 400 buses, owned by Stagecoach, did present a safety risk to commuters due to the lack of safety barriers and seat belts in the priority seating zone. The report has now been sent to the Department of Transport to review.

Mrs Naylor’s son David, 50, has welcome the coroner’s report saying his mother would still be alive today if the correct safety measures had been in place. He said, “Following the Inquest into the tragic death of my mother, we welcome the coroner’s findings highlighting the significant safety issues for elderly passengers on public transport.

“We hope that this report is now taken seriously and changes, which could have prevented the death of my mother, are made to reduce the risk of other people suffering serious injury or loss of life. Sadly nothing can bring my mother back to us but we hope that these changes will mean no one else will have to suffer the deep sadness of bereavement due to unsafe public transport.”

Mrs Naylor, who has four children and eight grandchildren, had been shopping in Oldham Town Centre when the driver of the Stagecoach bus she was travelling on was forced to stop suddenly. The driver of the bus had to slam on his brakes near the town’s Magistrate’s Court after nearly colliding with a dark coloured Vauxhall Vectra.

The sudden stop launched Mrs Naylor out of her seat and across the wheelchair zone into the barriers leaving her with fatal head injuries.

Slater and Gordon Personal Injury Lawyer Tulser Goodwin, who is representing Mrs Naylor, said the case highlighted the need for improved safety on public transport. He said, “It is wholly unacceptable for any passenger to be placed in any danger while on public transport but even more so when they are elderly or vulnerable. It is therefore vital the findings of the coroner taken seriously and the changes outlined in the report are brought in to safeguard other passengers.”

Tulser Goodwin is a Personal Injury Lawyer at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.

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