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Distracted bus driver handed prison sentence for multiple passenger injuries

A bus driver who was reading a time duty card while speeding on a stretch of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway in Cambridge has been sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment after he lost control of the vehicle, injuring five passengers. The sentence has been suspended for 12 months and the driver must also pay £2,000 costs.

Distracted bus driver handed prison sentence for multiple passenger injuries
The bus (top right) comes to rest up the side of a grassy embankment. Image credit: HSE

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Van Chuyen Le, who was employed by Cambus, trading as Stagecoach East, lost control of the bus as he negotiated a gap in the guided section of the busway - a dedicated route for guided buses which joins Huntingdon and Cambridge - on 22 February 2016. 

The bus jumped over the track, travelled across an adjacent path and came to rest on the side of an embankment. Five of the bus passengers sustained injuries, which included a fractured spine, pelvis, ribs and whiplash.

Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court was told on 9 August that Le was reading a time duty card while driving and was not paying attention to the busway ahead. At the time he wasn’t gripping the steering wheel and was driving at speeds of 84 kph when the maximum recommended speed for the area was 48 kph.

Le, of Kent Road, Huntingdon, pleaded guilty to breaching s 7(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. 

HSE inspector Nigel Fitzhugh said: “Drivers of guided buses must remain vigilant at all times. It is especially important to do so when driving on guided sections as the absence of steering control may create a sense that full control of the bus is being maintained.” 

 

 

Nic Warburton is acting editor, IOSH Magazine

 Nick Warburton is acting editor of IOSH Magazine. He is a former editor of SHP and has also worked on Local Authority Waste and Recycling and Environmental Health Practitioner

Comments

  • After the Croydon tram

    Permalink Submitted by Adrian Owens on 16 August 2018 - 09:27 am

    After the Croydon tram incident here's another accident where the introduction of more automation appears to have led to changes in driver behaviour that increase risk. Presumably the statistics indicate that tramways/bus ways remain much safer than a traditional bus on the public highway (does anyone have the stats?), but as automation increases further in years to come we will surely need to up skill existing staff or recruit a different type of driver as land vehicles move closer to the complexity of aircraft.

    reply

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