An elderly driver who hit and killed a cyclist when unable to read a registration plate three metres away has been jailed for six months for causing death by careless driving.
Peter Gardner was sentenced on Friday at Salisbury Crown Court having pleaded guilty. The court heard that the 82-year-old's eyesight had been far short of the distance motorists are required to be able to read a number plate from (20 metres), and that Gardner had been told by an optician he may be developing cataracts, but did not arrange a follow-up appointment.
Prosecutor Berenice Mulvanny told the court Gardner was driving in the same direction as Jim Tassell and, "Witnesses described [Mr Tassell] being catapulted two metres into the air. All the witnesses said Jim could be seen."
In his sentencing remarks, the judge said Gardner must have been aware his eyesight was failing before Friday 23 July 2021 when the driver hit 70-year-old Mr Tassell on the B3400 between Andover Down and Hurstbourne Priors at around 10am.
Mr Tassell was rushed to Southampton General Hospital by air ambulance but died five days later, with his family now pleading with elderly drivers to make sure they are medically and legally fit to drive.
"We are pleased the judge imposed a custodial sentence as this gives us a small piece of justice. We hope this sentence acts as a warning to any elderly driver with poor eyesight to ensure they are medically and legally fit to drive," the Tassell family said in a statement.
"We urge anyone who is concerned about an elderly driver to act so other families do not have to go through the pain and devastation that was inflicted upon us."
Mr Tassell was nearing his 50th wedding anniversary and in her victim impact statement wife Stephanie said Gardner's "arrogance and selfishness" had killed her husband, while son Ben said the driver had robbed "my mum of her husband and of her world".
"It is abundantly clear that you should not have been behind the wheel of a car. You have robbed my children of the best granddad," Mr Tassell's daughter Emma added.
Police Sergeant Spencer Wragg, of the county's Roads Policing Unit, stressed all drivers, regardless of their age, "Have a responsibility to ensure they are fit and healthy".
"This was a tragic and completely avoidable death," he said.
"If Peter Gardner had made sure he was safe to drive then this collision would not have happened, saving the Tassell family the pain and turmoil they have been through.
"All drivers, no matter their age, have a responsibility to ensure they are fit and healthy. By getting behind the wheel with poor eyesight, you are putting your own life and the lives of other innocent road users at risk.
"If you are concerned about your eyesight, or the eyesight of a loved one who drives, please find help and advice at https://olderdrivers.org.uk/”
Tony Blackburn? Isn't he dead yet? Why do third-rate celebs think their witterings are worth listening to?
Sounds to me like they're getting ripped off. People have thrown together Raspberry Pi hardware along with a camera (there's some excellent camera...
Would it be too simple to say the categories are based on sex, not on gender?
I had to go and look that up and can only agree with you. Quite a handsome Coat of Arms as well.
That G turn from 2km to 1km was something to boggle at, wasn't it. Cav was magnificent, the others especially Milan surprisingly faded. Lovely...
Think you've got hold of the wrong end of the stick there, testosterone is reduced by taking testosterone blockers, not by 'taking oestrogen'....
I concur GP4000 is the hardest I've ever had to mount on a rim, Ultegra wheelset in my case. Shifted the outer skin on my thumbs!...
Another one who deliberately misuses the term. Looking for trouble. Yeah because in London you have to stake out a road all day to find one offence.
Ticks a box, doesn't it?...
Normally I don't have a small enough violin for them but in this case I guess it's possible that their office / secretary / intern submitted this...