AN 83-year-old motorist hit a mother on a school crossing - and narrowly missed her child - after failing to properly clear mist from his windscreen.

The woman with her child had almost finished crossing St Helen’s Road, York, when John Wallace drove across the crossing narrowly missing the lollipop man, said Cathy Turnbull, prosecuting.

“She managed to push her child out of the way onto the pavement at the side of the crossing, but she was struck by the car’s front passenger side. The vehicle knocked her to the ground, banging her head on the ground,” said Ms Turnbull.

Wallace couldn’t see properly through his windscreen because it had misted up and he had only cleared a small area of it, heard York Magistrates' Court.

“It is a busy road,” said Ms Turnbull. “He had taken the decision to drive with a car not in a fit state to be driven.”

Defence solicitor Andrew Craven said Wallace would never drive again.

“It is an ignominious end to a long career of driving that has been trouble free,” he said.

York magistrates said the offence was so serious they had to give a six-month prison sentence, the maximum they could give.

But they suspended the sentence for two years because of Wallace’s good character. He had never been in trouble with the police.

They also banned him from driving for two years and ordered him to take an extended driving test before driving alone again. Mr Craven said he would never pass the test because of his age.

Wallace, of Southfield Crescent, Dringhouses, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

Ms Turnbull said the school crossing patrolman, wearing a high visibility jacket and carrying his lollipop sign, had stopped the traffic on St Helen’s Road at 8.20am on October 6 before gesturing the family to walk across.

The child suffered a cut hand when he fell onto the pavement, and the mother, after checking her son, was helped by staff at Dringhouses Primary School before being taken by ambulance to York Hospital. She had minor head injuries but not seriously hurt.

Mr Craven said Wallace had been travelling at between 5mph and 10mph and in addition to the misted windscreen, his view was obscured by the low sun shining into his eyes.

Wallace had not deliberately ignored the school crossing patrolman.

He had been driving for more than 40 years without any endorsements and relied on his car to get about.

“It is going to require him to have a completely different way of organising his life,” said the solicitor about the driving ban.