Editorials

Baroness Bus Driver Charged with Dangerous Driving

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Norman Markus, the driver who was behind the wheel during Baroness’ horrific bus crash this past August, is going to be charged with a a number of offenses, according to the BBC. These charges include:

  • Dangerous driving
  • Using a vehicle with defective brakes
  • Breaching a 7.5 ton weight limit
  • Insufficient daily and weekly rest periods
  • Using a vehicle in a condition likely to cause danger of injury
  • Not having the proper license to drive this particular type of vehicle

The article does not specify what punishment or punishments Markus could face if convicted, but obviously these charges are quite serious. Assuming that he really did not have the correct license to be driving the bus, and that he knew the bus was unsafe for various reasons (like, oh, those defective brakes), then it would seem that accident could, and should, have been avoided.

Insofar as the lack of rest goes… that’s obviously a serious issue as well, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard band members fret over concerns regarding who would drive their van for long stretches during late nights when they hadn’t slept enough. That being said, that’s part of the reason a bus is supposed to be such a terrific luxury — because the driver’s sole job is to drive the damn thing. Issues of rest shouldn’t really be issues at all in these circumstances.

Interestingly enough, John Baizley did not seem to bear the driver any ill-will in his own account of the crash — while he did say “I remember the sound of the air-brakes failing,” he also added, “There was nothing anyone on the bus could have done during our descent to avoid the crash.” That being said, it’s possible there are things that could have been done before the descent to avoid the crash, and I doubt Baizley would have been aware that Markus didn’t hold the correct license, or that there was anything wrong with the bus. Obviously, if he had, he and the other members of Baoness most likely would have thought twice about getting onboard.

Markus is scheduled to appear before Bath Magistrates’ Court on April 5. We’ll be following the outcome closely.

Thanks: Gordon

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