DRIVING by satnav is common but lethal, a sentencing judge said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
A Czech articulated truck driver relying on satnav on a country road in North Cork drove through a junction causing terrible injuries for another truck driver who had the right of way.
When the driver’s barrister Ray Boland said there was no aggravating factor such as being on a mobile phone, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said: “He was worse — he was on satnav.”
Mr Boland said the driver was 3m or 4m into the junction when satnav told him to stop and he felt the best thing to do was to continue in the hope of avoiding a collision with the oncoming truck but unfortunately the other vehicle hit the rear of his truck.
Garda Brendan Dunne said the other driver was seriously injured.
Jiri Hrubes, aged 30, of Louwska, Zatac, Czech Republic, pleaded guilty to the charge of driving without due care and attention causing serious bodily harm to the other motorist.
Garda Dunne said it happened at Ballymaquirke Cross in the area of Nad and Banteer on March 5, 2019, after the defendant ended up on back roads when following satnav.
“He proceeded to drive through the junction at 45km/h, missing the stop sign,” Garda Dunne said.
He returned to Cork to face the case against him. He was never in any kind of trouble before and was fully insured. The injured driver suffered a fracture to his skull and his leg but had no ill-will towards the Czech driver and understood how he could make a mistake and hoped he would learn from it.
Judge Ó Donnabháin imposed a four-year driving disqualification and an 18-month suspended sentence.
“Driving by satnav is common but lethal. The number of times non-national artic drivers can be seen doing it is worrying. This is an example of the results of satnav driving — it is in effect the totality of the case.
“Perhaps satnav put him on the wrong road. He went through a very busy junction without seeing or obeying a stop sign. And caused this collision. The negligence is — in effect — driving by satnav,” the judge said.