A taxi driver caused a head-on collision when he drove on the wrong side of the road just hours after returning from a visit to his home country of Poland, a court heard.
Zbigniew Niewiadomski temporarily forgot which country he was in as he negotiated a blind bend on New Beacon Lane in Grantham and drove in the wrong carriageway.
Lincoln Crown Court was told he collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle. The other driver and passenger were injured and their car was badly damaged.
Niewiadomski, 51, of Calder Close, Grantham, denied dangerous driving as a result of the incident on April 29 2011 but was found guilty by a jury following a trial.
He was given a 12-month community order with 150 hours’ unpaid work and banned from driving for 15 months.
Recorder Steven Gasztowicz QC said: “Although it wasn’t deliberate what happened here could have been very serious indeed in terms of its consequences. You have to be aware that a car is a lethal tool. Everyone, particularly those who drive taxis and public service vehicles, has to be very careful to maintain their standards of driving.”
The court heard that South Kesteven District Council has revoked Niewiadomski’s taxi licence and he will not be able to apply to drive taxis in the district until at least three years after his ban expires.
His barrister Jonathan Eley said that Niewiadomski is now unemployed as a result of losing his licence. He added: “He has reference which show this man is an extremely respectable, hard-working and honest man.
“The driving ban will have the effect of depriving him of his livelihood. The council has revoked his licence to practice. The future for him in terms of employment is bleak at the moment. He has made 67 job applications and has had no reply at all.
“This was not a deliberate piece of dangerous driving. Having returned recently from the continent his mind simply slipped into continental driving mode for a few seconds. No-one would deliberately drive on the wrong side of the road as they approached a sharp, blind, right-hand bend.
“He is extremely sorry that people were injured in this accident.”