Prison would "break" convicted murderer Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye, his lawyer told the Protea Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
"Once released as a broken man there would be no hope of ever mending what went wrong," Rudi Krause said during sentencing procedures.
"Long-term imprisonment would destroy the accused. Your worship should combine restorative justice... It may lead to a healing as far as the accused and victims are concerned."
Krause urged Magistrate Brian Nemavhidi to keep his eye on the future and not on the past to come up with what he described as a "balanced" sentence.
He said no matter what happened, the accident on 8 March, 2010 in which four schoolchildren died and two others were severely injured, could not be undone.
"A balanced sentence calls that your worship must impose imprisonment, [but] life imprisonment would not benefit anyone," Krause said.
Maarohanye said if a lesser sentence was proposed he would establish a trust to benefit the families of the schoolchildren and would become an ambassador to prevent accidents like his from happening again.
Earlier, Ashref Ismail from the Road Traffic Management Corporation testified that 14 000 people died in accidents each year and about 38 people died on the roads every day.
Krause said Nemavhidi should consider the consequences of his sentence and not statistics.
The accident was not intended, and rehabilitation in prisons was non-existent.
Maarohanye would be able to make a difference if he were not imprisoned for too long, Krause said.
Maarohanye and co-accused Themba Tshabalala were found guilty on four counts of murder and two of attempted murder, using drugs, racing on a public road, and driving under the influence of drugs, on 16 October.
Both men sat with their heads down in the dock during sentencing proceedings.