'R' driver caught doing more than double her restricted speed claims she regularly receives 'abuse' from other drivers when sticking to 45mph on motorway

'R' driver caught doing more than double her restricted speed claims she regularly receives 'abuse' from other drivers when sticking to 45mph on motorway

A JUDGE issued a court warning after an 'R' driver caught doing more than twice her permitted speed was given a two months road ban.

Lucy Carmichael (18), of Knock Eden Avenue, Ballymoney, was detected driving a Mini Cooper at 94mph on the M2 motorway near Antrim town despite being restricted to 45mph as a new driver.

She appeared at Antrim Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, and admitted the charge relating to 3pm on March 30 this year.

The court heard the defendant told police she "didn't mean" to be doing such a speed but she had been overtaking "a trailer" and "regretted it".

She had passed her test last August.

Defence barrister Michael Smyth said the defendant drives to Belfast to go to a college beauty course which has exams coming up and she also works part-time in The Salthouse Hotel in Ballycastle.

Mr Smyth told the court: "She has in the past found it difficult to drive on the motorway because of her R plates because of the behaviour of other drivers around her.

"If she does adhere to the speed limit she is subject to she has had lights flashed at her; gestures made; horns blared, because she is seen by other drivers on the motorway to be driving 'excessively slowly'."

On March 30, the lawyer said, the defendant pulled out to overtake a "slow moving vehicle and again lights were flashed at her from behind and she felt compelled to speed up to a speed that she wasn't comfortable with".

The barrister said the defendant may now take an "alternative route" off the motorway until she is out of her R plates "to avoid the type of behaviour that I have outlined other drivers subjected her to".

He said it was a "learning curve" for young drivers to be able to "resist" the behaviour of other motorists.

He said her "employment prospects" would be "greatly damaged" by any road ban.

Deputy District Judge Austin Kennedy said it "staggers me sometimes" the number of R drivers in "small cars" travelling at "excessive speeds".

He added: "They just fly past you and if there had been a collision there is absolutely no chance of survival".

The judge said he "certainly couldn't control my vehicle at 94".

Judge Kennedy said speeding was "endemic" and it is "unbelievable what is happening".

He continued: "Whether young drivers don't know the dangers but if you spoke to someone who has lost someone as a result of road traffic accidents you would be very quickly aware."

Judge Kennedy said people who "get a knock on the door" to say a relative has been killed in a road traffic accident "never forget it".

He said he took a "stern view" in speeding cases because of the risk of serious injury and death to the driver and others.

Judge Kennedy said the defendant had been travelling at an "appalling speed".

He added: "If you speak to someone, or some family member who have lost someone as a result of a road traffic accident  you will realise very, very, quickly that once this happens there is no going back".

The judge banned the defendant from driving for two months along with a £300 fine so she could "learn your lesson and the message can go out that this has to stop because there are far too many deaths on the roads in Northern Ireland at this stage".

Judge Kennedy said he accepted it was "hard not to travel at 45mph" and accepted on a motorway other road users are "very, very, impatient and abusive to some extent but the law still requires you to travel at 45".

Bail was fixed for appeal in the sum of £300 with permission to drive.

  • Main picture: General image of the Rathbeg area where the speed was detected on the M2 motorway. Picture: Google Streetview.