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Driver fined after following sat-nav to edge of cliff in West Yorkshire, England

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Driver fined after following sat-nav to edge of cliff in West Yorkshire, England

Wikinews
September 17, 2009

A driver has been fined after following the directions of his satellite navigation system, leading him to the edge of a massive cliff drop in West Yorkshire, England.

Robert Jones, who is 43 years old, appeared in Calderdale Magistrates Court on Tuesday, representing himself. He was prosecuted by Waseem Raja. Waseem told the court: "The defendant was using a TomTom satellite navigation system. The defendant followed that system to the letter, so much so it led him up a lane clearly unsuitable for motor vehicles."

"The path was such it was not designed for use of motor vehicles yet Mr Jones slavishly continued to follow the satnav system to the point where his eyes and his brain must have been telling him otherwise to such a degree he was not exercising proper control of the vehicle."

On March 22 2009, Robert Jones was driving a BMW 5 Series and was trying to get to his home in Doncaster, South Yorkshire after staying with friends in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. He was unsure of the route home and so followed his satellite navigation system, which was in the car. He continued to follow instructions despite being told that the narrowing dirt track he was driving on was actually a road. At the time the petrol gauge in the car indicated that he had just seven miles of fuel left. Because of this, Jones was desperate to find a filling station. He became so distracted by the sat-nav that he didn't realise his mistakes until he struck a fence on the edge of a 100 foot (30.5 metre) drop. The battery on his mobile phone had run out so he had to walk to a nearby village to get help.

In his defence, Robert told the court: "I might have been an idiot for taking the wrong road or carrying on but I have not driven without due care or attention. I'm sorry it happened. I certainly would not do it again. I drive 5,000 miles a week and I never have had a problem with it. I had no reason not to trust it."

Jones was found guilty of driving without due care and attention. He was fined £370 (US$610) with £500 ($824) costs and ordered to pay a £15 ($24) victim surcharge. He also got six points on his licence and had to pay £1,000 ($1,624) in recovery charges.

This article is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.



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