A SHORT trucker who ploughed into a queue of traffic on a Doncaster motorway was blinded by low sunlight because his lack of height meant his windscreen visor was ineffective.
Six other drivers were injured, two of them seriously, when Alan Jenkinson failed to apply the brakes on his heavy goods vehicle and it crashed into two lines of standing traffic. A judge told him: “Other lorry drivers could see the hazard ahead and stopped but you didn’t notice the peril ahead.
“Because of your stature you were not high enough to get the benefit of your visor, and had taken no steps to solve that problem.”
Traffic was stationary because of an earlier accident on the southbound carriageway of the A1(M) between Marr and Warmsworth in November 2009, Doncaster Crown Court was told. Prosecutor Megan Rhys said van driver Michael Vaughan had already halted at the tail end of the queue when he looked in his mirror and saw the HGV was going to hit him and he could do nothing about it.
His airbag deployed on impact but he still suffered a severe injury to his hand, which required a six-hour operation, and a fracture of the spine.
Mr Vaughan needed surgery to pin his neck vertebrae and spent time in two hospitals before he was allowed home, where he needed constant assistance with daily tasks. He is still disabled and suffers flashbacks and mood swings as a result of the crash.
Simon Wise, the driver of Ford Mondeo, was also hit from behind, said Ms Rhys, and also suffered life-changing injuries. Four other vehicles were hit by the shunt but their drivers suffered lesser injuries.
Jenkinson, of Hawksley Street, Oldham, who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, got out of his cab and told other motorists: “Sorry, sorry, the sun was in my eyes.”
His tachograph showed he was doing 56mph before the collision and an expert said he failed to react to the stationary traffic.
Ms Rhys said he had a careless driving offence and two speeding offences in the past five years.
Jenkinson, aged 49, said the sun was extremely low and directly in front of him and that had blinded him.
Sentencing him to 12 months in prison and a five-year driving ban, Judge Peter Kelson, QC, said Jenkinson’s HGV was a lethal weapon and the damage caused by a momentary lapse of concentration was massive.