School bus driver who injured 12 children after slamming on the brakes allowed to keep licence

Telegraph reporters
·2-min read
A statue representing the scales of justice
A statue representing the scales of justice

A school bus driver who injured 12 children after slamming on the brakes when pupils wouldn't stop ringing the bell has been allowed to keep his licence.

Roger Wells, 63, caused children to fall over on his bus when he hit the breaks and came to a halt so severely an upstairs windscreen was cracked when a 12-year-old boy was hurled into it.

The driver, with 40 years experience behind the wheel of a bus, lost his temper when somebody on his bus rang the stop bell constantly after he picked up pupils from Uplands Community College in East Sussex to take them home.

He told the 98 children on his double decker he would take them back to school if they did not stop ringing the bell. He then slammed the brakes when his threat failed.

After performing a U-turn, he drove the bus back to the school.

Judge Janet Waddicor ordered him to pay £1600 and handed him ten penalty points - not enough for him to lose his driving licence - after a jury convicted him or careless and inconsiderate driving.

"I'm not going to disqualify you", she said.

"Had they been serious injuries, no doubt you would have been charged with a more serious offence."

A jury at Lewes Crown Court, East Sussex heard Wells had already admitted failing to stop and failing to report an accident to police.

Judge Waddicor said: "You were aware of all of these injuries. You ought to have reported it to the police. You have said you were unaware of the obligation.

"It surprises me a man who has passed no end of tests and with 40 years experience should be ignorant of that requirement."

The judge criticised the school handling of pupil travel.

Buses were regularly overcrowded, the judge said.

"The school arrangements for boarding the bus were slap dash at best. Somebody ought to be sorting it out sharpish. The parents have repeatedly expressed their concerns to the school," the judge said.

Wells, of Wadhurst, was fined £750 and seven penalty points on his licence after a jury found him guilty of careless and inconsiderate driving.

He was fined £250 with another three points for failing to report an accident.

He was also ordered to pay £600 prosecution costs.