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US auction fatalities prompt formation of VRA safety committee

VRA’s deputy chair Sam Watkins

A string of fatalities at US auctions has prompted the formation of a safety sub-committee at the Vehicle Remarketing Association.

VRA’s deputy chair Sam Watkins said that US-based auction safety consultants International Vehicle Services prompted the move after sharing details of an incident at a Boston auction houses where five car traders were killed by a runaway vehicle.

Watkins said: “They reported on a recent incident in Boston where five people were killed after a driver lost control of a car and drove into dealers during a sale. This is just one of a number of fatal incidents seen there over the last few years.

“Now, US auctions do tend to have a different physical layout to the our own, but there is no denying that the potential for accidents at auctions is very high.

"Small incidents happen on a daily basis, with buyers wandering around looking at phones and so on.

“What we want to do is take consultations from across the industry and share best practice as widely as possible."

Watkins said that it would be "complacent in the extreme" to assume that the kind of accidents that they have seen in the US simply couldn’t happen in the UK.

He added: “While the overall track record of safety in the UK remarketing sector is good, our view is that it can always be improved and that is why we are planning to take this subject and run with it.

“The VRA is in a unique position to promote this issue.”

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