HE WAS responsible for the crash that claimed the lives of two Hervey Bay women.
But Cameron Edward Scheuber, 55, walked free from Maryborough Magistrates Court yesterday after pleading guilty to driving without due care and attention.
The court heard Scheuber had been following too closely behind the car in front of him when it became necessary to make a sudden stop.
Scheuber was driving a prime mover full of macadamia nuts and was unable to stop the vehicle.
He crossed to the wrong side of the road and collided with the vehicle carrying colleagues Vicki Watson and Patricia Nell.
Ms Watson died at the scene, while Ms Nell died later in hospital.
The court heard Scheuber had a poor traffic history and had been sentenced for careless driving twice previously, once in 1986 and again in 1994. He had also received two speeding fines since the fatal crash.
The court heard Scheuber had suffered post-traumatic stress in the wake of the crash and was attending counselling sessions regularly.
Magistrate John Smith told Scheuber as a professional driver he must have had accurate knowledge of what was a safe distance what was not a safe distance.
He said inattentive driving was something that needed to be condemned by the court.
Mr Smith said he took into account the mental trauma suffered by Scheuber as a result of the crash.
"That is nothing compared to what is suffered by the friends and loved ones of those who died," he said.
Mr Smith said it was important to remember that the lives of those who had died could not be brought back by the punishment of an offender.
But he said penalties could deter others from committing the same offences.
Scheuber was sentenced to four months imprisonment wholly suspended, with an operational period of two years.
His licence was disqualified for six months.
Last month the State Government proposed tougher penalties for careless driving offences which resulted in serious injury or death.
Under the proposed legislation changes, careless drivers who cause death or severe injury could face up to two years in prison and a minimum licence disqualification of six months.
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