Wrong driver nomination “serious”

A Buncrana company secretary nominated herself as the driver of a speeding van as she incorrectly thought the penalty points would be imposed upon her.

Joanne McLaughlin, Crana Joinery, Gransha, Buncrana appeared at Buncrana District Court after one of the vehicles owned by her company was detected speeding on January 21st, 2014 at Ballymacarry Lower, Buncrana.

McLaughlin told the court the business received a fixed penalty notice in the post. She said that when asked in the form to nominate the person driving at the time of detection, she wrote down her own name, as she thought the penalty points would “come automatically” to her. She said she also sent a cheque to pay the fine, which was returned to her, along with a letter from the fixed charge office stating they were not proceeding against the company.

Defence solicitor Ciaran MacLochlainn asked McLaughlin if she knew who had been driving at the time of the offence. She replied she did not and enquiries had failed to establish their identity. She added all employees drive the jeep-type vehicle which normally “stays in the yard.” McLaughlin confirmed she now has a rota for three of the vehicles but “not for the ones in the yard.” She said these either “sit in the yard all day or be out two or three times on deliveries.”

Judge Kelly said it was a “serious matter to fill in a legal document knowing the information is untrue.” He said he was also concerned the company did not have a system in place to know who is driving a particular vehicle and when.

He said: “These are serious matters and I’d hope you and the company would take a lesson from this.”

He dismissed the summons.