A 56-year-old former bus driver who caused an accident when she took her eyes off the road has been banned from driving for a year. 

Kathleen Harris, of Beach Road in Caister-on-Sea, near Great Yarmouth, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday.

Harris had pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by careless driving, relating to an incident which took place in Kelsale, near Saxmundham, in October of 2022.

Harris, a former bus driver for the company Alexander Dennis, was driving along Main Road in Kelsale just after midday on October 13 when she picked up her time sheet card to check that she was running on time.

At the time, a resident of Main Road was leaning into his parked car, bending to retrieve some items from the rear passenger side.

Harris’ momentary lapse in concentration meant that she did not see a parked car or the resident. She collided with the rear of the car, and the man was propelled forward several feet, landing beside his neighbour’s gate.

The court heard that the man, a father-of-four, suffered a fractured rib, collarbone and big toe, as well as a laceration to his wrist and gravel rash on his back and left side.

The court heard the man spent three months unable to work and drive and was unable to hug his children while he only had the use of one arm. His car was written off.

Speaking in Harris’ defence, her counsel described it as a “tragic accident”. He said that Harris had worked as a bus driver for 20 years before the accident without any incident.

The court heard that Harris has not driven since the incident.

In sentencing Harris, Her Honour Judge Emma Peters handed her a community order for 12 months.

She will undertake up to 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days, and has been fined £250. She will also pay court costs of £150 and a surcharge of £114.

Judge Peters also disqualified Harris from driving for 12 months.