Lorry driver used mobile while driving

A 28-year-old lorry driver was fined £60 and had three penalty points put on his licence at North Antrim Magistrates Court last Wednesday when he admitted driving while using a hand-held mobile telephone on August 14, 2008.

Colin Martin Laverty of 129A Coolkeeran Road, Loughgiel, who was said to drive 50,000 miles a year, committed the offence at Kilraughts Road, Ballymoney.

Prosecution evidence was that police observed defendant driving a lorry whilst using his mobile telephone. Police followed him for about one mile and he was said to have still been using the phone while negotiating a roundabout. Defenant was eventually stopped.

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Solicitor for the defendant, Mr. Kevin Brennan, said his client had been driving for 11 years and on the day in question had been in a smaller lorry than his normal one.

He was driving towards Ballymoney to pick up a load when he got a telephone call from his office.

Defendant was unable to pull in at the time and had fully intended to tell the office to ring back, but the message indicated that he was to forgo the job in Ballymoney and, instead, go to Loughgiel.

“My client was getting further instructions and was unable to cut them off,” the solicitor said.

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Mr. Brennan pointed out that Laverty normally drove a vehicle with a hands free system, but the lorry he was in on the day in question did not have that facility.

The matter had been reported to Laverty’s employer who had since ensured that all vehicles were equipped with a hands free kit.

Mr. Brennan said his client had been offered a fixed penalty notice at the time, but since he only had a Republic of Ireland licence, the officer was unable to do so.

A summons for driving without due care and attention was withdrawn.

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