Bus driver fined after hard braking causes elderly passenger to fall and sustain serious injuries

Shasul Anwar Mohd was driving Go-Ahead bus service 62 along Punggol Field when the incident happened in December 2017.
Shasul Anwar Mohd was driving Go-Ahead bus service 62 along Punggol Field when the incident happened in December 2017.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A public bus driver who jammed on the brakes and caused an elderly passenger to fall and sustain serious injuries was fined $2,500 and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for a year.

Shasul Anwar Mohd, 34, was driving Go-Ahead bus service 62 along Punggol Field when the incident happened last December.

The fall left Mr Lim Kim Chia, 82, with head and spinal cord injuries.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Wu Yu Jie told the court on Monday (Oct 1) that Shamsul, a Malaysian, was driving the bus towards Sumang Lane on Dec 23 last year.

A car in front was driving at a slower speed as the driver was unfamiliar with the roads and was looking out for signs.

As they approached the junction of Punggol Field and Punggol Field Walk at about 9.17am, the car slowly came to a stop, and Shamsul had to jam on his brakes to avoid a collision, said Mr Wu.

At the time, Mr Lim was standing up to alight as the bus neared a stop.

The impact of the braking caused him to fall and hit his head on the railing. Closed-circuit television cameras in the bus captured the incident.

He was taken to Changi General Hospital, where he underwent surgery the next day. He was discharged on Feb 8.

"He was provided a memo that stated he was unable to work until further notice," added Mr Wu.

Mr Lim's medical report from Changi General Hospital showed he sustained a head injury with scalp laceration and a spinal cord injury.

A follow-up check revealed he had permanent weakness in both hands and numbness in both arms, with his neck's range of motion limited.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Go-Ahead Singapore spokesman said: "Shamsul Anwar Bin Mohd is currently not under a contract of service with Go-Ahead Singapore. We reached out to the passenger to offer our assistance at the time of the incident." 

Shamsul's defence counsel Ashwin Ganapathy said his client was "truly sorry for his actions" and had offered $1,000 to Mr Lim in compensation but this was refused.

District Judge Luke Tan noted Shamsul's clean driving record. He said that serious harm had been caused, with Mr Lim sustaining permanent injuries, and that Shamsul should have been "extra careful" as he was driving a heavy vehicle.

He fined Shamsul $2,500 and disqualified him from driving all classes of vehicles for a year for causing Mr Lim's injuries through a negligent act.

Shamsul could have been jailed up for to six months, along with a $2,500 fine.