Kilrea motorist was holding mobile phone to look at 'Google Maps'

Kilrea motorist was holding mobile phone to look at 'Google Maps'

A KILREA woman who admitted using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving in Ballymena claimed she wasn't familiar with the road and was using Google Maps.

Kerry-Ann Quinn (19), of Claragh Hill Court, was detected at Broughshane Road on August 3 this year.

A prosecutor said police saw the defendant holding a mobile phone in front of her face and she was moving her lips.

When she noticed police she dropped the mobile phone and "began to laugh," the prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court.

A defence lawyer said the defendant had been asked "to do a favour" for her father and pick up glasses from an opticians.

The solicitor said she wasn't familiar with the road and whilst on Google Maps on her phone she was talking to her passengers in the rear "whilst trying to see where she was going".

He said the defendant is a care worker at a care home in Magherafelt who had been at the "forefront" of the Covid pandemic and if banned for a lengthy period she would be in difficulty because public transport would not fit in with shift patterns.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said the law was recently changed and six penalty points are now imposed for mobile phone offences.

He said: "The reason that was done was because the message wasn't getting through and people were still using their mobile phones whilst driving.

"Clearly that is wholly inappropriate because it increased the risk of an accident and if that were to happen then there could be, in certain cases, significant consequences.

"I will take into consideration the fact that you are a care worker and doing an important job so on this occasion I will impose a short disqualification".

The defendant was banned from driving for two weeks and fined £200.