A public bus driver who slammed on the brakes and caused an elderly passenger to fall and be seriously injured has been fined $2,500 and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for a year.
Shamsul 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 yesterday that Shamsul, a Malaysian, was driving the bus towards Sumang Lane on the morning of Dec 23 last year.
A car in front of the bus was travelling at a slower speed as the driver was unfamiliar with the roads and was looking out for signs. As both vehicles approached the junction of Punggol Field and Punggol Field Walk, the car slowly came to a stop and Shamsul had to slam on the 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 bus railing. Closed-circuit television cameras in the bus captured the moment.
Mr Lim was taken to Changi General Hospital, where he underwent surgery the next day. He was discharged on Feb 8.
His medical report from the hospital showed he had a head injury with a 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 a limited range of motion in his neck.
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 for up to six months and received a $2,500 fine.