‘Drivers’ bonus should be ended after tragedy’

SUMMER SEYMOUR: the 15-year-old died and her boyfriend was seriously injured.
SUMMER SEYMOUR: the 15-year-old died and her boyfriend was seriously injured.
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LAWYERS are calling for a bus firm to scrap a bonus scheme for drivers following a fatal collision in Sheffield.

Summer Seymour, 15, died and her boyfriend Jake Ford, then 17, was seriously injured when they were struck by a bus as they crossed a road in Sheffield city centre in December 2015.

Bus driver Paul Brown, 51, of Cannon Hall Road, Fir Vale, Sheffield, was jailed for 10 months after admitting causing death by careless driving.

He struck Summer and Jake as they crossed Haymarket, with Sheffield Crown Court told that the driver had enough time to have avoided the young couple but his ‘attention was not fully on his driving’ at the time of the collision.

CCTV footage from inside his bus revealed that he had used his phone while moving five minutes before the crash and he closed down his ticket machine as he prepared to finish his shift.

During his trial it emerged that bus company First runs a bonus scheme where drivers are rewarded for the way they drive, with a dashboard system recording movements such as harsh braking and swerving.

Speaking after Brown was jailed, David Withers from law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is representing Jake, said: “This is an incredibly sad case in which the careless actions of a driver left a young man with serious, life-changing injuries and tragically took the life of a young girl.

“The sentence highlights the need for other drivers to take note and be more responsible when on the road.

“Nothing is more important than your own safety and the safety of others on the roads.

“I would like to take this opportunity to urge First Group to remove any financial incentives that they may have to encourage their drivers not to brake too harshly.

“Jake is happy that he can now try to put this terrible ordeal behind him and focus on his rehabilitation and recovery.

“We are working with Jake to help him overcome his injuries in the best way he can and will seek further funds that he will require for his ongoing therapy and to support his recovery.”

Jake suffered a crushed pelvis, leg and collar bone as well as dislocated fingers, a punctured lung, broken vertebrae in his back and a damaged bladder in the collision.

He said: “It is a relief that the driver pleaded guilty, taking responsibility for his actions, however nothing will change the fact that it has been life-changing for so many people.

“The incident has had a huge impact on mine and my family’s lives and left Summer’s family and friends devastated. Ultimately, the sentence will not undo that. I just hope drivers take more responsibility for their actions in future.”

Speaking outside court, Miss Seymour’s mother, Corrina Seymour, said she did not think Brown had been given a long enough sentence. She said: “Whatever sentence would have been passed today would never have been enough.”

Investigating officer PC Paul Lidster said: “While this is a positive result, with Brown now facing time behind bars for his crime, this will never bring back Summer and our thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends.

“We also recognise Jake’s strength, who is thankfully now recovering from his significant injuries.”