A motorist who was ‘blinded’ by a laser pen as he drove along a Belper road said he was seconds from crashing – and could easily have killed someone.
Paul Hampson was driving along Far Laund, close to the Ladywood Avenue junction, on Saturday when he was overcome by ‘pure green immense blindness’.
Footage of the shocking incident, which was captured by Paul’s dashboard camera, has been uploaded to our website.
Police and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) have now warned against the dangers of shining laser pens at motorists – and said culprits could face jail if they are caught.
Paul, who is chief videographer for King’s Lynn FC, had been in town for his team’s away tie against Belper FC earlier that day.
The 45-year-old, of King’s Lynn, said: “I was driving along discussing the football with my colleague.
“Then suddenly this laser appears on the road – and then shines directly into my eye. I was just overcome by a pure green immense blindness.
“I couldn’t see anything at all for a few seconds.”
He added: “I was aware there was a car parked to my left, but I couldn’t tell if there was anything coming the other way and had no idea if there were pedestrians about.
“I was seconds away from crashing. If the culprit had targeted me for any longer, I have no doubt I would have crashed.”
Paul said after a few seconds the laser stopped and he was able to pull-up safely and recover.
He said it took half an hour before he felt able to drive again.
Paul, who works as an emergency ambulance attendant and lives with his wife, Louise, four daughters, and one son, said: “It was a very high power laser, as I could see it shining from a house at least quarter of a mile away.
“I could not see properly out of my right eye for around three days after the incident either too.
“I had such bad sight loss that I had to take the following three days off work.”
He added: “If motorists can’t see where they’re going, then they could easily kill somebody.
“Anyone who flashes a laser pen into a moving vehicle is a total idiot and clearly does not understand how much they are putting people’s lives at risk.”
A spokesperson for Derbyshire Police said: “Incidents of this nature are thankfully extremely rare, but shining any sort of light at a driver can be dangerous and potentially cause a collision.
“We have secured convictions in the past against people who have shone lights at aircraft, for example, so it is a matter we take very seriously.”
Mark Lewis, director of standards for the IAM, said: “Recent prosecutions of offenders targeting civilian and police aircraft in the UK have resulted in prison sentences and this should hopefully be the case for any person targeting a driver or rider.
“If you are unfortunate enough to be struck by a laser beam and your eyesight is affected, you should immediately slow and find a safe place to stop your vehicle.
“Seek medical assistance if the effects do not diminish within a few moments and do not drive until your eyesight returns to normal. If possible, call the police and give details of what happened.”