AN INISHOWEN Judge has said he believes “young men in a hurry” are among “the biggest causes of tragedy” on our roads.
Judge Paul Kelly was speaking in Buncrana District Court on Thursday, where Damien McLaughlin of Ballinahone, Fahan was convicted and fined 250 euro for careless driving.
The court heard how, on May 19, 2011 at 9.35pm, off duty Garda Detective Mullins was travelling behind a slow moving tractor in the area of Umricam. He observed a van and Skoda car behind him, which began to “swerve dramatically” and crossed over “two bad bends” near the local filling station.
Buncrana Inspector David Murphy said Detective Garda Mullins saw both drivers “swinging the rear” of their vehicles “over and back using the full width of the road,” which was governed by a single white line.
He said he felt vehicles travelling in the opposite direction “would not have time” to avoid them.
On passing the filling station, Detective Garda Mullins observed the Skoda turning left in the direction of Sledrin and identified the driver as McLaughlin.
Defence solicitor Ciaran McLochlainn told Judge Kelly how the tractor had been moving “very slowly.”
He said Detective Mullins had been travelling immediately behind the vehicle and in his client’s view, had made “no effort” to pass it out, leaving the other two drivers “frustrated.”
Mr McLochlainn submitted that there was no oncoming traffic, no racing, no accident and the men had been “in a hurry.”
To this, Judge Kelly remarked: “Young men in a hurry are among the biggest causes of tragedy on our roads” and added that the white line was ‘there for a reason.”
He also said Garda Mullins, who had been driving his own private car, had been “doing what was required” and that the defendant “should have done the same”.
Mr McLochlainn asked Judge Kelly not to impose a disqualification as his client was a lorry driver and his licence was “essential” to him.
Judge Kelly convicted and fined McLaughlin 250 euro for careless driving.
He did not impose a driving disqualification but said that McLaughlin’s licence was “hanging by a thread”.