Elderly driver responsible for fatal accident claims he's been dealt with 'too harshly'

Car driver appeals against two-year ban and extended retest following collision that killed a motorcyclist

PENSIONER John Craven, 71, has claimed that he was dealt with too harshly after he was ordered to take an extended driving retest after being found responsible for causing a fatal accident in East Yorkshire on Friday June 6 last year.

The incident happened at Butterwick/Langtoft crossroads between Bridlington and Sledmere after Mr Craven pulled out without paying sufficient attention. Paul Ella, 53, was riding his Ducati Panigale and hit the Toyota Avensis being driven by Mr Craven. Mr Ella died at the scene.

Mr Craven was arrested, bailed and later convicted of causing death by careless driving. He was banned for two years, handed a two-month curfew and ordered to take an extended retest.

Prosecutors said Mr Ella was not speeding and Mr Craven should have edged out at the junction to improve his view, rather than pulling out quickly and carelessly.

Mr Craven launched an appeal at Hull Crown Court on Thursday January 7 against his sentence. He claims his driving was at the lowest level of culpability and other road users did exactly the same as him.

Crown barrister Chris Dunn said: ‘A disqualification of two years is entirely appropriate. What was possible for him to do was slow down. What he did was see the motorcyclist and speed up.

‘It is a fairly fundamental decision to stop at a junction and make sure it is clear. It is arguable on the facts, the defendant’s age may have contributed. If that is, or might be the position, then the extended re-test is designed to ensure when he returns to the road he is competent.’

Mr Craven’s barrister, Philip Morris said: ‘The culpability arises out of not edging out, or not to look constantly, as he crossed the road. Other drivers were noted to do the same thing, not just by the defence expert, but by the prosecution expert too.’

Mr Morris also said there was nothing in Mr Craven’s ‘barely unblemished’ 42-year driving history that pointed toward him requiring a retest.

Judge Kate Buckingham reduced Craven’s driving ban to 18 months, but said the extended test should stay in place. She believed that culpability was not at the very lowest level insisted by Mr Craven’s barrister, adding: ‘It was not a momentary lapse. It was sustained manoeuvre, crossing a junction without sufficient heed. Given the consequences of the accident a disqualification of 18 months is appropriate.’

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