A coroner has called for more stringent rules surrounding the use of previously written-off vehicles on the road, after a six-year-old girl was killed in a relatively minor traffic collision.
Six-year-old Sadie McGrady was sitting in the rear passenger seat of her mother's Vauxhall Corsa when it was struck broadside by another vehicle that was overtaking traffic on a dual carriageway.
She suffered head injuries and later died in hospital.
The Vauxhall Corsa had previously been written off and was deemed roadworthy after being repaired by a salvage company.
But after police examined the vehicle, it was found to have had a rear offside panel that was poorly repaired, which had compromised the integrity of the vehicle. This resulted in the car being able to withstand less of an impact in almost precisely the same spot in which it was hit.
The problem didn't come to light previously, as the only legally required inspection of such cars is the annual MOT, which would not highlight a lack of structural integrity as a result of substandard repairs.
North Wales coroner John Gittins – who recorded a verdict of accidental death – stated that he was to write to the DVLA, Association of British Insurers and other organisations, to highlight the dangers posed by unsafe but wholly legal cars being used on the road.
Once a car has been written off, an owner must prove that it is roadworthy, but this only goes so far as to determine the vehicles identity and supplying a valid MOT certificate.
Currently, second-hand car buyers can check a car's history through HPI. While it will highlight if a car has been previously stolen or written-off, it won't detail repairs or the standard to which they have been carried out.
Buyers are advised to check repair receipts thoroughly and if anything doesn't add up, simply walk away.