Lorry firm 'could have postponed delivery' after driver died in M74 Storm Malik crash

A lorry firm 'could have provided clearer information to postpone deliveries' after a driver died in a crash on the M74 during Storm Malik.

Bogdan Popa, 32, was killed when his lorry tipped on the motorway in Lanarkshire on January 29, 2022. Mr Popa had been driving north to deliver flatpack furniture when his vehicle was hit by a gust of wind of up to 49mph - causing it to overturn and collide with an oncoming Land Rover.

The dad-of-one was tragically pronounced dead at the scene after suffering fatal head injuries. A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) has ruled that Mr Popa's death could have been prevented if he had stopped or slowed down the vehicle after feeling the impact of winds.

The incident took place after a yellow weather warning had been issued.

The inquiry, held at Lanark Sheriff Court, further recommended that the Romanian national's employer, XPD Ltd - a courier service in the UK - could have postponed the delivery during torrential conditions.

Sheriff Adrian Cottam said: "It would have been a reasonable precaution for the employer company XDP to postpone the delivery of flat pack furniture until Monday, January 31, 2022, or alternatively to delay the commencement of the journey to 4pm on Saturday, January 29, 2022, when weather conditions were expected to improve."

The inquiry heard that both lower speed and driver skill could have given Mr Poppa an opportunity to regain control of the vehicle after it was hit by strong winds. It further added that there was at least one safe space for lorries to stop along the route after the weather warning was issued.

Sheriff Cottam recommended a series of proposed recommendations to XDP Ltd after claiming the firm didn't have a safe system of work at the time of the fatal crash. He said it would have been a reasonable precaution for XDP not to send out a lightly loaded vehicle during extreme conditions, to monitor the weather and to provide clearer information to drivers on the impact of stopping or postponing a journey due to high winds.

In a written judgment, Sheriff Cottam said: "The accident was caused by Mr Popa's curtain sided articulated lorry being struck by a strong gust from an already strong side wind. The wind caused Mr Popa to lose directional control as the vehicle began to roll onto its offside. Mr Popa had no opportunity to regain control.

"The lorry tipped over fully onto its offside before crossing the metal barrier into the southbound carriageway and struck an oncoming vehicle."

Meanwhile, Mr Poppa was remembered as "the best person" by his relatives.

His niece Monica Tudorie, 19, told the Record at the time of his death: "For us, he was the best person. He was the best carer and loved spending time with his son. They are both so clever and so into their gaming. Before finding out what happened to his dad, my little cousin explained to me he was having trouble accessing his dad's GPS on his lorry and was worried.

"When he saw the news, I think he was scared that it was his dad. And then police officers came to the house and told us."

Around £10,000 was donated to Mr Popa's family in an online fundraiser to fly his body home to Romania.

The Record approached XPD Ltd for comment.

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