THE solicitor for the family of one of the victims of the Glasgow bin lorry crash has said a “systemic failure” in driver health record checks could put further lives at risk.

Ronald Conway, Scottish Co-ordinator for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), acted for the Tait family in the Fatal Accident Inquiry following the 2014 crash that left six dead and 17 injured.

Driver Harry Clarke, who passed out at the wheel, had been declared fit to drive after lying to his GP about a previously fainting episode while driving a bus.

His deception could have been caught in 2011 when he renewed his HGV licence.

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Mr Conway said Clarke’s actions are part of a “wider scandal” he calls a “cottage industry based on driver convenience with no thought of public safety”.

Mr Conway said: “Drivers with their livelihood at stake put on Boy Scouts’ honour to tell the truth about their medical history with excellent prospects that any false declarations will go undetected and unpunished.

“That is until and unless we have yet another tragedy.

“They should be removed from temptation.

“It is high time for the Secretary of State for Transport to carry out an urgent consultation with a view to legislative change.”

To renew an HGV licence a driver must have a DVLA D4 signed by a doctor to declare a clean bill of health.

Private firms will arrange for the form to be signed by a medical practitioner for a fee of around £50 but the signatory will not have site of the applicant’s medical records.

Calling this a “box ticking exercise” that has allowed a “cottage industry” to spring up, APIL is now launching a campaign to call for changes in the law.

Jacqueline Morton, 51, and Stephenie Tait, 29, from Glasgow, Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents Jack Sweeney, 68, and his 69-year-old wife Lorraine, from Dumbarton, and Gillian Ewing, 52, all died in the bin lorry crash on December 22, 2014.

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Another 17 were injured.

In December 2011, Clarke renewed his HGV licence by filling in the DVLA D4 application form, which asks about medical episodes in the previous five years.

He said there was none and at a face to face medical examination with an independent doctor, he also declared there had been none.

The medic, a Dr Willox, did not have access to Clarke’s medical records and so accepted his version of events.

At the Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) in 2015 Dr Willox testified that had she known about the previous faint she would have asked for further enquiries.

Mr Conway said: “People can make up their own minds about Harry Clarke but it is difficult to view him as a criminal mastermind.

“The ease with which he gamed the DVLA application system to retain his HGV licence is deeply disquieting.”

At the FAI, the judge Lord Beckett expressed the view that a requirement should be explored for occupational health doctors performing D4 exams to have applicants sign a consent form authorising the release of relevant medical records.

In his judgment Lord Beckett recommended the Secretary of State for Transport should consult on how to ensure information available to examining doctors was accurate and complete.

Read more: Damages actions in bin lorry case can go ahead

Between 2010 and 2014 there were three fatal road crashes where fainting at the wheel was involved, two in Glasgow.

Students Mhairi Convy and Laura Stewart were killed in Glasgow city centre when driver William Payne fainted and lost control of his 4x4.

Mr Payne had suffered four previous blackouts from 2007 but, when examined in July 2010 by an occupational health doctor, he denied any previous problems.

The doctor did not have access to his medical records and certified him as fit to drive.

In 2012 James Lochrie was killed at a bus shelter on Cathcart Road, on the South Side, when a First Bus driver fainted at the wheel.

The driver, David Logue, had also suffered four previous faints but mislead medical practitioners with no access to his medical records.

Sheriff Mitchell, presiding over the FAI, called on the Secretary of State to begin legislative change to ensure medical decisions are made only with access to medical records.

Mr Conway said: “Fatal Accident Inquiries are public events, frequently to the distress and upset of the bereaved families.

“None more so than the bin lorry inquiry.

“They are public events so that lessons can be learned, changes made and our streets made safer.

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“Otherwise, those families affected might well wonder at this dread anniversary, what has been the point of it all?

“At present, there is nothing in place to prevent others like Harry Clarke concealing their medical history, sailing through a D4 medical examination, and being lawfully placed behind the wheel of an HGV vehicle.”

Lord Beckett recommended Glasgow City Council should carry out an internal review of its employment processes.

The council had already begun this process prior the judgment and it now seeks reports from a candidate’s GP with regards their fitness to drive and these reports are assessed by an Occupational Health Provider.

On receipt of medical clearance is the candidate then able to progress to the next stage of the recruitment process.

No employment offers are made until these steps have been completed successfully.

A spokeswoman for the DVLA said: "Our medical standards for large vehicle drivers are already very high.

"However, we always keep the medical assessment process under review."