GEM criticises ‘lenient sentence’ given to shortsighted driver

12.00 | 16 January 2014 | | 1 comment

GEM Motoring Assist has condemned what it calls the “excessively lenient sentence” given to a 23-year-old driver who fatally injured a journalist at a pedestrian crossing in North London.

23-year-old law student Mohammed Rashid was reported to be so shortsighted he could only identify a car number plate from a distance of seven feet. He was not wearing his glasses when he fatally injured 32-year-old Laurence Gunn in March 2010.

He was sentenced to 140 hours unpaid work and banned from driving for a year after admitting causing death by careless driving at Blackfriars Crown Court last week.

David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive, said: “It beggars belief to read the comment of Judge Aiden Marron, who stated that Rashid ‘had not broken the law’ by not wearing glasses.

“Rule 92 of the Highway Code (from Section 922 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act) states that you must be able to read a vehicle number plate, in good daylight, from a distance of 20 metres. If you need to wear glasses (or contact lenses) to do this, you must wear them at all times while driving.

“At least 90% of the information we use in driving comes through seeing, so good vision is essential for road safety. If you can’t see properly, you cannot drive safely.” said

GEM has been campaigning for many years to get the driving and vision laws revised, and has regularly called for a compulsory professional eye test for all drivers applying for their first licence, and for this test to be repeated at 10 yearly intervals.

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    When did Rashid learn to drive? Where did he learn? Who taught him? Did his instructor identify the poor eye sight? If so, what did he/she do about it? If nothing, why not?

    So many unanswered questions.


    R Jones
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