Driver of speeding bus crashed while reading at the wheel

A bus driver who crashed a speeding bus while reading at the wheel has been spared jail.

Friday, 17th August 2018, 10:18 am
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 10:08 pm

Van Chuyen Le (37) from Kent Road, Huntingdon, was looking at a time duty card when he took his hands off the steering wheel and lost control of the vehicle while driving at 52mph in a 30mph zone.

Five people were injured, some of them seriously, with people suffering a fractured spine, pelvis, ribs and whiplash.

The bus jumped over the guided busway track at Trumpington near Cambridge and landed on a grassy embankment on February 22, 2016.

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An image of the bus which crashed. Photo: SWNS

A report by Cambridgeshire County Council, which runs the busway, found it was “unlikely the bus was under... control”.

The crash happened when the bus collided with part of the concrete guide track.

One of the guided wheels was “sheared off” which had a “catastrophic effect on the bus’s guidance... magnified by the bus’s forward momentum”.

The crash also caused “considerable damage” to the bus itself, as well as the track.

Le was sacked from his job at Cambus Ltd as a result.

At Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court on August 9 he pleaded guilty to breaching section 7 (1) of the Health and Safety Act 1974 and was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,000.

Speaking after the case, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 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.

“Members of the public should be assured that HSE seriously considers the risks to their health and safety and takes appropriate enforcement action where necessary.”

The Cambridgeshire guided busway opened in 2011 and connects Cambridge with Huntingdon and St Ives.

The busway carries thousands of passengers in and out of Cambridge every day, with buses running on the specially-designed concrete tracks.

Issues with the guided busway have been well documented with cars getting lodged in lanes, attacks on the pedestrian footpaths and other crashes.