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Bus driver admits hitting blind man in Hoveton

PUBLISHED: 07:02 15 February 2011

A 69-year-old former bus driver admitted driving without due care and attention after he pulled into a lay-by and hit a blind man stood near the stop.

Alfred Atkinson appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court yesterday<mon/14>to plead guilty to the charge relating to an incident at Norwich Road, Hoveton on June 30 last year.

Oliver Haswell, prosecuting, said: “The bus driven by Atkinson swung into the lay-by and although the vehicle remained on the road, the bus overhung the pavement and collided with a gentleman who stood there. The gentleman was blind and unable to take avoiding action. The bus struck him and he was knocked over.” The man sustained minor injuries, including bruising, as a result of the incident.

Stephen Thomas, mitigating, said Atkinson, of The Loke, Ingham, near Norwich, said he had been driving for 52 years and had been a bus and coach driver for 42 years with no endorsements “whatsoever” to his licence and had completed an advanced drivers certificate in 2007.

Mr Thomas said it had been a “fleeting drop in the standard of driving” - a “momentary lapse”. “He was a competent driver and still is a competent driver.”

He said that Atkinson, who retired three months ago, tried to pull in flush to the kerb to make it easier for passengers.

He added: “He should’ve on this occasion, even although it would’ve blocked traffic, stopped a few feet from the kerb and be aware of the possibility of someone stumbling.”

Mr Thomas said his client, who deeply regrets the incident, said had the man had a white stick he would have been more aware to the fact he was blind.

District Judge Philip Browning said: “You did on this occasion fall below the standards which you’ve demonstrated in the past and its right to say there were minor injuries.”

Mr Browning fined Atkinson £200 and told him his driving licence would be endorsed with five penalty points. He was also ordered to pay £60 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

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