A Whitby driver has been banned from driving after being caught driving with no hands for about half a minute, at speeds of between 60mph and 63mph. Richard Newton had denied the claim of dangerous driving, stating that he was in total control of the vehicle. The court ignored his plea and found him guilty, sentencing him to 100 hours of community service, a 12 month driving ban, and a fine of £625 including a £60 surcharge.
Dangerous driving is considered one of the most serious driving offences. As such, it carries some of the harshest penalties, although drivers will not usually receive the maximum penalties unless they have caused serious injury or death as a result of their actions. Any driver found guilty of dangerous driving faces a minimum 12 month ban, a fine, and either a community sentence of custodial sentence. The punishment is further increased if the driver has been banned previously, or if their driving caused an accident or injuries to others.
Mr Newton was spotted by a mobile police security camera in August 2013 driving with his hands behind his head. He continued to drive in this fashion for a further 25 seconds between speeds of 60mph and 63mph. Newton was accused of dangerous driving, which carries a minimum of a 12 month ban as part of the punishment.
Although Mr Newton claimed he was not guilty of the offence, stating that he was in fact in total control of the vehicle during the time, he was found guilty. As well as the prerequisite 12 month ban, Newton was also forced to undertake 100 hours of unpaid community service and was ordered to pay a £625 fine for his actions.
North Yorkshire Mobile Safety Camera Team head Dave Brown said that the case highlighted the sheer stupidity of some drivers, as well as the ability of safety cameras to capture footage of people performing such acts. A video of the incident shows a row of oncoming traffic passing Mr Newton as he drives down the road.