Statement from BDS

On 14 June 2024, British Driving Society were sentenced in the Swansea Crown Court in respect of its role in the Fun Drive event at Afan Argoed Country Park which took place on 27 May 2012 and sadly resulted in the fatality of Miss Angharad Rees.  

BDS were sentenced in accordance with the Sentencing Guidelines and received a fine in the sum of £90,000. This figure is based on the actual harm created, which in this case involved the tragic death of Miss Rees.

Following the advice of our legal team, we entered guilty pleas on the basis that our responsibility was by omission rather than commission and that the actual arrangements were made by Cimla Ride and Drive (‘CRD’) and arose as we had agreed though the officers of our Welsh branch to let the event be run under our auspices. We accepted that we did not take any appropriate steps to check what arrangements were in place or whether they were adequate.

Our investigation revealed that our Welsh Office branch had not followed our procedures in terms of accepting that this event could be run under our auspices. As a result, we have updated our handbook requiring the following:

“Area Commissioners must apply to the BDS for every event they wish to hold in their Area.

The purpose is to ensure that the BDS has prior notice of events which are held under the BDS Organisers Insurance Policy

No event can be held under BDS Organisers Insurance policy without the application being confirmed by the BDS Office. (Find under forms on the website)

All applications must be received by the BDS Office not later than 7 days prior to the start of the event.

An event will not be regarded as a BDS event until confirmation is received from the BDS

Office. Once confirmed the event details will be forwarded to the BDS website for inclusion in the events calendar.”

We believe the matters that arose in respect of this event were anomalies to the way that we operate and how BDS events are organised. As our members know, competitors’ and members of the public’s safety is paramount and we must always ensure that rules and legal obligations are adhered to.

Should you require any further information in respect of this, please contact the office for the attention of the Chair. 

British Driving Society

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