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Lorry crash survivor calls for HGV changes in Wales

A YOUNG woman who had to have her leg amputated after being run over by a skip lorry is calling for HGVs in Wales to be fitted with the latest safety devices.

Victoria Lebrec was 24 when she almost died after being hit by the lorry as she cycled to work. The driver failed to see her as he turned left across her path, dragging her under the wheels and crushing her pelvis.

She was only saved when paramedics performed a pioneering procedure at the scene to stem her blood loss. Victoria had to be put in an induced coma and woke up in hospital to find her left leg had been amputated.

Now she is backing a call by campaign group APIL (the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) for new safety rules for HGVs weighing more than 12 tonnes while driving on Welsh roads.

APIL issued the call in its response to a Welsh Government consultation on road safety in Wales. The campaign group proposes the introduction of ‘Direct Vision Standard’ safety measures, which have been in place in London since 2021.

“It would mean introducing permits for HGV operators, cameras to eliminate blind spots, sensors to detect other road users, and audible warning systems to alert pedestrians to any intended manoeuvres,” explained Victoria, who is a lay member of APIL’s executive committee.

Since her crash in 2014, Victoria has been an advocate for improved road safety. “I supported the introduction of the Direct Vision Standard in London, which has gone on to significantly improved safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Fatal collisions where vision was a contributing factor have fallen by 75 per cent since its introduction.

“Vulnerable road users in Wales could and should be afforded the same protection as those in the English capital. This consultation is an opportunity to prevent avoidable deaths and life-changing injuries,” said Victoria.

“If something could be done to stop another person being needlessly injured or killed, then the Welsh Government should do it.

Cardiff lawyer Pauline Roberts, APIL’s executive committee representative for Wales, said, “Wales is blazing a trail for road safety already with the 20mph limit on restricted roads in residential and built-up areas to prevent needless injuries to people, but more could still be done.

“The Highway Code acknowledges vulnerable road users. It’s right that those with the potential to cause the most harm, like HGVs, adopt sensible and reasonable measures – as in the Direct Vision Standard – to improve road safety in Wales for everyone else.”