AM Online

TVR death not careless driving

TVR salesman Toby Hodgkinson was killed when an inexperienced prospective customer crashed the TVR demonstrator they were test-driving, a court heard earlier this month.

Dealers’ sales teams have been reminded of the importance of making buyers familiar with the controls and characteristics of demonstrators.

Loughborough Magistrates Court has cleared the driver, Neil Tinegate, of driving without due care and attention after considering evidence that showed the TVR Tuscan was difficult to control even for an experienced driver.

Magistrates were told that Hodgkinson had driven the 3.6-litre car initially before letting Tinegate behind the wheel.

Tinegate overtook a Rover, but the TVR swerved, bounced off a verge and collided with a lorry. Hodgkinson worked for TMS Performance Vehicles, a dealership in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. It had held the TVR franchise since 1994, but has ceased operating since the incident (April 2005).

The prosecution alleged that Tinegate’s heavy acceleration while overtaking, combined with his unfamiliarity with the TVR, was careless. However, a video reconstruction with an experienced driver showed a similar TVR still swerving when it hit 60mph in third gear. Tinegate’s lawyer argued that his client could not have been expected to predict this due to his inexperience.

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