A GRANDFATHER has been handed a six month driving ban after police filmed him driving at 70mph with a child kneeling or standing on the front passenger seat.
John Naisbitt was captured by police in a mobile camera van on the A59 at Menwith Hill, near Harrogate - which is subject to a 60mph limit - in April this year.
Officers were amazed to see a child kneeling or standing up on the front passenger seat.
The 66-year-old, of Devon Street, Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham, appeared for sentencing at Northallerton Magistrates Court today (September 3) having earlier admitted speeding and carrying a passenger in a manner likely to cause danger.
The court heard that Mr Naisbitt, who represented himself, suffers from lung cancer and has been advised he only has four years to live.
A statement from the officer manning the mobile safety camera, read in court by TC Andy Forth, said: "I continued to record the driver as he lit a cigarette already in his mouth.
“I was shocked at what I was observing. The driver seemed to have no consideration for the young passenger as the manner he was travelling in seemed to be in danger.”
Mr Naisbitt said he was on his way to visit his granddaughter in Clitheroe, Lancashire, and was unaware his grandson, who was on a booster seat, had pushed the seatbelt strap behind him.
The court heard how Mr Naisbitt, who also cares for his disabled wife who cannot drive, needs his car to pick his grandson up from school twice a week.
Magistrates heard he already has nine points on his licence, the result of three earlier speeding offences.
He was given a further three points for the latest speeding offence and was disqualified for six months under the totting up procedure.
For driving in a manner likely to cause danger to someone else he was given a further ban of three months, to run concurrently.
He was also fined £45 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £85 plus a £20 surcharge.
TC Forth said afterwards: “We fully support the magistrates and the sentence they’ve given today because it gives a clear message that people need to use restraints in vehicles as well as travel below the speed limit.”
Dave Brown, mobile safety camera manager, said: “Mr Naisbitt should consider himself lucky not to be facing more serious charges. His disregard for the safety of his young passenger could have ended in tragedy.”
Philip Goose of road safety charity Brake said: "Ensuring that a child is correctly fitted in a child restraint is important to ensure the safety of everyone in your vehicle in the case of a crash, whether or not you believe that you are a dangerous driver yourself.”