A DRIVER captured on film travelling through North Yorkshire at 63mph with his hands on his head today escaped a jail sentence.
Richard Newton, 36, was filmed by North Yorkshire Police driving at 62mph along the 30mph A171 near the North York Moors at around 6.20pm on Friday 9 August last year.
Officers were “shocked” and “amazed” as the safety camera van caught him driving with his hands resting behind his head for around 25 seconds at between 60mph and 63mph.
Newton, of Abbots Road, Whitby, was found guilty of dangerous driving at Scarborough magistrates court today and disqualified from driving for 12 months by chair of the bench Nicola Dennis who told him: “It is unacceptable that a person drives without his hands on the wheel.
“Your ability was significantly affected by your actions. The video evidence has been conclusive in convicting you of dangerous driving.”
During the course of the three-hour-long trial, Enforcement Officer David Hunton, who was operating the speed camera equipment at the time, told the court: “In my opinion I believed it was over the speed limit so I pulled the trigger on the camera.
“I was shocked and amazed at seeing this happen. I felt like it was far below the standard of a competant and careful driver.”
Prosecutor Martin Hawes told: “On 9th August 2013 a VW Golf was observed travelling south on the A171 at 62mph.
“Mr Hunton, Enforcement officer, saw the driver with both hands behind his head for at least 30 seconds.
“Mr Newton cannot have been in proper control of his vehicle.
“Mr Newton accepted that he was driving without his hands and was in fact driving with his knees.”
The prosecutor asked Newton, who took to the witness stand: “Can I confirm that you have not modified the vehicle to steer with your legs?”
To which Mr Newton replied: “Yes”.
Mr Hawes said: “So the things that are designed to be on the steering wheel are not on the steering wheel.
“In the grand scale of things where does stupid come?” he asked.
But Mr Newton, who works at Car Care, told the court that he had his legs locked under the steering wheel while he had “a bit of a stretch” because of his bad back.
He said: “I just made a mistake, I shouldnt have done it. It’s a silly thing that I did.”
Dave Brown who heads North Yorkshire Police’s Mobile Safety Camera Team, said: “This case demonstrates two things, one is the sheer stupidity of some people who put others in danger, and the other is the ability of our safety camera to capture a range of offences.
“This is yet another case which shows that these cameras are about safety and not just speeding. We will take action against all manner of offences to ensure we keep our roads as safe as possible for everyone.”
Mr Newton was also handed 100 hours communtiy service and fined £625 with a £60 surcharge.