A bus driver wasn’t wearing his glasses when he was involved in a collision that killed a pedestrian, a Leeds court heard.
David Hopkins forgot to put his spectacles on before driving the First bus that knocked down Alan Millard, causing him fatal injuries.
Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard the accident, on the A64 York Road near Harehills, Leeds, last December 15, was “unavoidable” after Mr Millard stepped out into the path of the vehicle.
But, in what was described as a highly unusual case, Hopkins, of Fartown, Pudsey, was charged with driving in breach of his licence – because he wasn’t wearing glasses.
Deputy District Judge Tim Spruce said: “This is a very unusual offence, and until recently there was no such offence.
“Its introduction has generated significant debate around blameworthiness and appropriate criminal sanction where death results.”
The court heard Hopkins, 48, was approaching the junction with Harehills Lane when Mr Millard, who had been drinking and was talking on his mobile phone, stepped out in front of him at about 10am.
Despite braking, he was unable to prevent the collision and Mr Millard was dragged under the bus. He died two weeks later.
Prosecutor Emma Whitfield said: “In fairness to Mr Hopkins, the accident investigator concluded that the collision was unavoidable. However, he had a restriction on his licence that required him to wear glasses at the time he was driving.”
Steve Smithson, mitigating, told the court: “This is a most unusual offence, one that is very difficult to understand and more difficult to explain to the lay client.
“If he had been wearing his glasses, he wouldn’t be here.”
Mr Smithson added: “It is not as if, had he been wearing glasses, he would have seen something that would have prevented the accident.
“The fact of the matter is: glasses on, no offence; glasses off, there’s an offence.”
Sentencing him to a 12-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work, Deputy District Judge Spruce said: “This is a matter that David Hopkins must live with for the rest of his life. That outweighs any sentence this court can impose.”
Hopkins was also banned from driving for 12 months.
A First spokesman said the company could not comment on individual staff disciplinary matters.