A MAYFIELD man with a history of driving offences has escaped an immediate jail term for negligent driving causing death.
Murray Higgs, 58, had previously pleaded guilty to having caused the death of traffic controller Terence William Close by negligent driving.
Yesterday Magistrate Reg Marron sentenced Higgs in the Launceston Magistrates Court to three months' jail, wholly suspended for 12 months.
Higgs was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.
The maximum penalty for the offence is one year's jail.
Mr Marron told the court that Higgs's convictions included five drink-driving offences, two speeding offences and 17 ``minor'' traffic infringements.
``He has a pattern of disregard for the road rules,'' Mr Marron said.
``But none for the last seven years.''
Mr Marron noted that Higgs's remorse was genuine and the crash had affected him.
``He did not comply with the signs and was driving too fast,'' Mr Marron said.
``He failed to keep a proper lookout.
``He was listening to a horse race.
``It was completely unnecessary and had nothing to do with his driving.
``It had catastrophic results.''
Mr Marron said he had not heard of the effect of Mr Close's death on his family, but he said they would have suffered from ``enormous shock and considerable grief''.
Mr Close died from his injuries in the Launceston General Hospital after Higgs's utility hit him in Vermont Road, Mowbray, about 1.25pm on February 5. The speed zone at the time was 40km/h because of roadworks.
Higgs was driving at 53km/h.
He passed four separate warning signs and was looking down at his car radio before he hit Mr Close.
Mr Close had been standing on the road wearing a high-visibility vest and holding a stop sign.
He was directing traffic around contractors who were sealing cracks in the road.