April 21, 2008 | Mark Paradies

How Much Punishment is Required? Is a fine needed to correct the root cause(s) of this accident?

Here’s a news item from the UK:

Child killed while driving a tractor

The father of a 12-year-old boy who was crushed to death by a tractor has been fined £1000 for letting his son drive the machinery while underage.

Sam Stanbridge was towing a roller on 25 March 2007 at the family farm at Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire, magistrates in Leicester heard on 28 February. There were no witnesses to the incident, but his mother found him unconscious while out riding. He had sustained a fatal injury to the head, having apparently been crushed by a two-and-a-half-tonne roller attached to the tractor he was driving. The tractor fell into a nearby canal. Sam was pronounced dead at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

A coroner’s inquest into his death concluded that Sam either slipped, tripped, or fell out of the cab; while getting in and out of the cab; or while already out of the cab. He had undertaken the same activity the day before the incident, and during the previous year, despite the law banning children under 13 years of age from driving or riding on agricultural machinery.

There was no evidence that the tractor had been driven recklessly, nor could any horseplay on Sam’s part be attributed to the cause of the incident.

In court, the boy’s father, Mark Stanbridge, pleaded guilty to breaching reg. 4 of the Prevention of Accidents to Children in Agriculture Regulations 1998, in that he allowed Sam to drive a tractor while carrying out agricultural work, which culminated in his death. He was fined £1000 and ordered to pay costs of £1500.

How much punishment is enough?

Do you think the father needs to be fined £1000 to prevent future accidents?

Sometimes I wonder about courts and the enforcement of regulations.

Root Cause Analysis
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