‘You’re going to jail’ – judge tells inattentive coach driver who killed three

Driver Alan Peters, 78, whose dangerous driving killed three men instantly and seriously injured a fourth when his coach ploughed into their car at 61mph, has been told he will be going to jail.

Mr Peters, of Gravesend, Kent – who denied the charges – has been found guilty at Luton Crown Court of causing three deaths and serious injury by dangerous driving.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Charles White says: “This case highlights the serious consequences of failing to be alert and prepared for unexpected or challenging conditions.

“Holding a driving licence brings with it a high degree of responsibility that should always be at the forefront of every driver's mind.”

CCTV shows traffic on the M1 in Bedfordshire was light to moderate, at 0640 in February 2015, when he crashed the coach into the Audi, which had its hazard lights flashing on the hard shoulder.

Judge Richard Foster granted Mr Peters bail ahead of sentencing in December. He is banned from driving.

Prosecutor Peter Shaw said motorway signs indicated the hard shoulder should be used in emergencies only.

Despite being able to see the car on the hard shoulder for around 1,500m and almost a minute prior to impact, Mr Peters was oblivious to the danger. Only 0.4 seconds before impact did he apply his brakes. He drove along the hard shoulder for at least three minutes.

During the trial, Mr Peters claimed another vehicle may have been ahead of him, which may have obscured his view, but CCTV disproved this.

PC Dave Clarke said: “I would urge every driver to take a moment to learn the rules regarding managed motorways and to ensure that you know what the signs mean in relation to using the hard shoulder.