Egged on defensive over ‘reckless’ bus driver’s previous crash

A day after the tragic accident that killed six people and injured another 12, new details regarding the past of driver Haim Bitton have come to light. In spite of his past record the Egged us company came out and supported the decision to reinstate him once he fulfilled the sentence set for him by the courts. 

In August of 2014 an indictment was filed against Bitton for an accident that he had caused while driving the route 402 bus near Sha'ar Hagay interchange, similar to what occurred yesterday. In the previous accident 18 people were injured. The letter of indictment cited Bitton as "a reckless driver who did not understand that the vehicle in front of his was slowing down." 

Bitton was found guilty of not keeping a proper distance between his vehicle and the one in front of him, careless driving and actions that caused damage. He was sentenced to 120 hours of community service which were completed while working with the NGO Ezer Mitzion. He was also punished with a 45 day suspension of his license, and another three months of probation. He completed his punishment in September of 2015.  

Following the completion of his sentence, Bitton returned to work. In a report that appeared on the Walla news site, the Egged bus company stated that since Bitton had completed his sentence he was allowed back to work. When asked by reporters how they could let a driver return to work after being found guilty of careless driving, the company responded by saying that the question was irrelevant. 

Ron Retner, a spokesperson for the company, said that the company was abiding by the law. "Any driver is who is found guilty of breaking the law and has fulfilled his sentence to the court and to the company is a driver. Once he has fulfilled his sentence he receives his license once again and is cleared by the law to resume his duties of driving for public transit, therefore the question isn't really relevant.

"I have no desire to expand my answer on the issue as I do not wish to upset the police investigation which is currently taking place, and which I hold faith in." 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/208065

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