Pensioner hospitalised after test drive goes wrong

A pensioner in Birmingham has been seriously injured after a car on a test drive from a local dealership hit the bench she was sat on.

Jean Carter, 74, had to spend 10 days in hospital then complete four weeks of rehabilitation after she suffered a leg fracture and wounds to both her legs in the incident. Shane Bradley, 23, the man behind the wheel, was sentenced to eight months in jail after admitting causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

Car dealers offering test driving services must ensure they have demonstration cover as part of their motor trade insurance policy. Importantly, for this insurance cover to be valid, the test driver must show a driver's license and must be accompanied by a member of staff.

Having only recently passed his driving test, Mr Bradley had been taking a Ford out for a spin with the view to buying it when he suddenly slipped off the clutch while reversing the vehicle, The Birmingham Mail reported. Maninder Chagger, who was defending the driver, he was “horrified and shocked” when he realised what had happened.

Judge Melbourne Inman QC, did not show any sympathy though. He said: “Mrs Carter was sitting on a bench, no doubt thinking she was safe there. You were driving a vehicle that you were unused to. It shot back with sufficient force and sufficient speed to effectively destroy a caste iron bench.

“It is quite clear it was your incompetence at driving that lead to this offence.”

Mr Bradley's jail sentence has been suspended for 12 months. He has also received a two-year ban from driving.