Driver missed red light as he checked his GPS

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While checking GPS on his phone a 41-year-old man did not notice a red light and by the time he stopped he was 15 feet across the white line.

Zoltan Tibor Karoly, Avonmere, Craigavon, was fined £150 for using a mobile phone while driving on August 19 this year.

Another £150 fine was imposed for breach of a traffic sign. He was also given three penalty points.

Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday that a police mobile patrol at the Northway, Portadown, saw the defendant approaching the lights.

He had a mobile phone in his right hand and appeared to be reading from the screen.

At the red light he dropped the phone and braked but travelled 15 feet across the white line before stopping. Other cars had to manoeuvre around the defendant’s vehicle.

He was cautioned at the scene and said: “I was looking at GPS.” A solicitor representing the defendant said worked as a driver.

She explained that on the day in question he had just found out his brother had been involved in a road traffic accident and had been taken to hospital in Belfast.

The solicitor added that Karoly was in a hurry to get there and in a lapse of judgement he was checking the GPS to see which turn he should have been taking.

District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said he would not disqualify the defendant on this occasion but he had come close to being disqualified.