VIDEO: Bus driver who ran red traffic light before crash avoids ban

A bus driver has avoided a driving ban after causing a crash between his bus and a car which saw the double decker drive through a red traffic light.

Thursday, 22nd September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 3:00 pm
The moment of impact

Philip Onions (21) Hixs Lane, Tydd St. Mary, pleaded guilty to one count of driving without due care and attention at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The crash happened on March 3 this year on David’s Lane, Werrington.

The collision was captured on a dash-camera fitted to the Peugeot which was hit by the Stagecoach bus.

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The moment of impact

Onions, a dad of three, failed to stop at a red traffic light, and collided with the car while his bus was carrying school children home.

The female driver of the Peugeot suffered arm injuries, and a bus passenger was also hurt in the crash.

Eyewitnesses said there were about 20 school children on board at the time, as well as other passengers.

But despite the collision, Onions was given a last chance to stay on the road, with magistrates leaving him with 11 points on his licence - one short of the 12 which would leave him facing a driving disqualification.

Phillip Onions arrives at court., Magistrates Court, Peterborough 20/09/2016. Picture by Terry Harris.

Kelly Shimmen, prosecuting, told the court the driver was driving the double decker bus on Goodiwn Walk when the collision occurred at Davids Lane.

She said: “The junction is controlled by traffic lights - the lights for the Peugeot were on green, and for the bus they were on red.

“We say this was bordering on dangerous driving, as the bus was carrying passengers, there were injuries, and damage was caused.”

Onions, who wore a blue suit to court, and was supported by family members, was sacked shortly after the crash.

The aftermath of the crash

The court was told Onions attended to the passenger who was injured and the driver of the Peugoet, making sure the emergency services had been called.

Mr Jeffers, defending, said Onions had faced a difficult year, with the loss of his father and the birth of a child.

He said: “Mr Onions had worked for Stagecoach for 14 months. He has been a driver for 13 of those months.

“He is autistic and his passion is for vehicles.

The moment of impact

“He had worked at Ford as a parts manufacturer. He has now lost his job and is working as an apprentice welder.

“On his bus on the day were school children, who were playing with the bell.

“He had stopped at a bus stop 200 metres before, as he was alerted by the bell. No-one got on or off. He moved on, all the while with the bell ringing in his ears.

“He is full of remorse.”

The court was told vehicles were Onions’ passion, and he had always wanted to be a professional driver - something he accepted he would not be able to do now.

Onions wrote a letter to the driver of the Peugeot, saying he felt ‘sick’ when he watched the dash cam footage of the crash, and told the driver he was ‘deeply sorry.’

Phillip Onions arrives at court., Magistrates Court, Peterborough 20/09/2016. Picture by Terry Harris.

The court was also told Onions needed to drive to get to work, as he lived in a small village with poor public transport connections.

Magistrate Christine Shaw said: “Because you were driving a bus, this makes it more serious.

“But we won’t disqualify you.

“You are remorseful, and you did try to be sure the people were all right.”

Onions, who already had three points on his licence, was given a further eight points, taking his total to 11 points. The court was not told what he had received the three points for.

He was also fined £147 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a surcharge of £20. He was given 14 days to pay the money to the court.

The aftermath of the crash