Driver suffered from sleeping condition

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A First Bristol driver who suffered from sleep apnoea has denied driving dangerously but admitted careless driving in relation to a crash after falling asleep at the wheel in June 2009.

The breathing condition disturbs sleep and causes severe tiredness in the day, leading to driver Robert Long falling asleep six hours into a shift before  mounting the kerb and destroying a set of traffic lights.

Long initially lost his job with First but was reinstated following a DVLA investigation which provided medical evidence.

The judge fined Long £300 with £350 prosecution costs, endorsed his driving licence with six penalty points and told him to pay a £15 victim surcharge, after saying the circumstances of the accident were “wholly exceptional”.

Long has since undergone successful medical treatment and can now continue driving.

A First Bus spokeswoman said: “The original incident was thoroughly investigated by us and appropriate action was taken at the time. Since the original incident occurred in 2009 Mr Long has not been involved in any other blameworthy incidents.”