School bus driver over the drink drive limit
Parents in Kington Langley are outraged after a bus driver was found to be over the legal alcohol limit when dropping children off at primary school.
David Papworth, whose driving career spans more than 30 years, was disqualified from driving for 14 months after pleading guilty at Chippenham Magistrates’ Court.
Papworth, 54, of The Maltings, Royal Wootton Bassett, failed a breath test in Kington Langley the morning after drinking four pints of beer at a football match.
He had 40 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath when stopped driving the single-decker on January 30. The legal limit is 35.
Papworth resigned from his job with Brinkworth company AD Rains Coaches after his arrest.
Pauline Lambert, prosecuting last Thursday, said: “It’s 9.10am, he’s been completing the school run, still has half a dozen people on the coach when he’s stopped.”
He had been driving buses and HGVs since 1982 and had a clean licence, the court heard.
District judge Simon Cooper said: “You are a man with a long and unblemished driving career. This was drinking the night before. It remains in your system. It has an effect.
“Driving through a narrow village with cars parked on each side at that time of the morning, and these buses are not small, they’re large. There is potential to cause serious damage.”
Kim Brereton, defending, said: “He hadn’t eaten anything and he’s not a heavy drinker, so it probably affected him more than someone who had had a heavy meal and drinks regularly.”
Papworth had an evaluation with substance misuse service Turning Point, but was said to have no issue with drinking.
Ms Brereton said: “This was not in any way a deliberate act, he just didn’t realise he would still be over the limit.”
The judge said: “I give you particular credit for resigning and seeking professional help. A 16 month disqualification is fitting given the circumstances, but this will be reduced to 14 months to give you full credit for what you have done since the offence.”
It will be reduced to the end of December if he completes a drink-driver course. He was fined £120.
Neither Langley Fitzurse School head Becky Harris or AD Rains manager Adrian Griffiths would comment.
Kerrie Beaven, 31, of Hardenhuish Lane, Chippenham, drives her son James King, seven, to Langley Fitzurse Primary School. She said: “If my son was on that bus, I’d be savage. He should look at all the children in the face.”
A 44-year-old mother-of- two in Kington Langley said: “It’s quite shocking. It might have been the night before, but it’s still driving children in a public service vehicle.”