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Taxi driver, 81, who hit woman on motorbike shown clemency

An 81-year-old taxi driver has been banned from the road after she admitted blame for an accident that punctured the lung of a motorcycle rider.

Magistrates’ Court imposed an 18-month disqualification period on Sylvia Smith and fined her $1,500.

But he ruled that Smith, from Devonshire, would be allowed to return to the road as soon as she was able to prove that she was still fit to drive.

Javone Rogers, for the Crown, told Magistrate Tyrone Chin that a period of disqualification was mandatory unless there were compelling circumstances to justify another penalty.

But he said the law did allow for a disqualification until the individual was able to “pass a test of competence”.

Smith pleaded guilty on Thursday to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm by careless driving on November 5, 2020.

The court heard that Smith was driving on East Broadway approaching the Crow Lane roundabout at about 4.45pm.

Shortly after she entered the roundabout, Smith moved from the right lane into the left lane after she entered the roundabout and struck female motorcycle rider who had been in the left lane.

The rider was knocked to the ground and suffered serious injuries, including fractured ribs and a punctured lung.

Richard Horseman, who appeared for Smith, urged the court not to disqualify his client.

He said that Smith not only drove for a living but that she also needed to drive her husband to medical appointments.

Mr Horseman argued that the loss of her licence would have a disproportionate effect.

He said that Smith has an otherwise clean driving record and that she had not seen the motorcycle because it had been in the taxi’s blind spot.

Mr Horseman said: “This was 5pm traffic. She was coming out of town.

“It was a slight brush — not that I am casting any aspersions on the other driver.”

He added that Smith had already paid compensation to the victim to cover the cost of medical treatment, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Smith apologised for the collision and appealed to the court not to ban her from the road.

She said: “My husband is very sick and I do all the running around and shopping so it would be really hard for us as seniors to carry on.”

Mr Chin disqualified Smith from driving all vehicles for 18 months, or until she was able to prove competence, and fined her $1,500.

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