A fatal accident inquiry looking into the death of a pedestrian hit by an HGV bin lorry said it could have been avoided if the operator had not relied on a vehicle with extensive blind spots.

Margaret Johnstone died in November 2020 due to “catastrophic injuries” when she stepped off a pavement in Alloa just as the Iveco Stralis refuse truck began to move off.

Sheriff Alastair Brown said 58-year-old Johnstone had chosen “a bad place” to cross immediately in front of the lorry, which was operated by The Binn Group, and that the vehicle was fitted with additional mirrors that provided the driver with a greater field of visibility.

However, he also found that as a result of the height of the cab and the windscreen there were still significant blind spots around the front and nearside of the Stralis.

The driver, Grant Waley, said he had been undertaking commercial waste collection services and had returned to his vehicle and checked his mirrors before driving off.

The sheriff said the question was why the accident occurred and in his conclusion he stated: “This vehicle was unsuitable for the task which Mr Waley was carrying out.

“He had to keep stopping outside commercial premises, collect rubbish, get back in and drive on before stopping again and repeating the process.

“He had to drive down a street which was busy with pedestrians, with shops on both sides.

“The carriageway was so narrow that the lorry occupied its whole width.

“The extensive blind spots which characterised this lorry made it difficult for him to be sure that pedestrians were not in danger.

“The mirrors alleviated the problem but did not cure it,” he said.

The sheriff added that the use of a low cab vehicle with a low windscreen and side windows “might well have avoided the accident” and he gave credit to The Binn Group, which said it had since invested heavily in low cab vehicles.

In an affidavit, the company said: “Following the accident all eight or so of the refuse or bin lorries purchased by Binn Group have been low cab models.

“If a pedestrian was to walk in front of one of our new vehicles, they would be readily identified by the driver.”