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Darlington car boss in pile-up while on the phone
THE director of a car firm who caused a three-vehicle accident while using his mobile phone to check his bank balance was spared a driving ban after pleading exceptional hardship.
James MacConachie, 36, hit two cars on the A66 on the outskirts of Darlington,near The Brick Train sculpture, as he spoke to HSBC about his account.
MacConachie, of Harris Street, Darlington, is director of Reiver Car and Commercials, of Faverdale, Darlington, and told the court that losing his licence could force his business to close.
Jonathan Bambro, prosecuting, told Darlington magistrates that MacConachie was driving near Morton Park, in January, when his Ford Ranger pick-up truck hit the back of a Vauxhall Vectra, causing it to hit an Audi A3 being driven by a doctor.
The impact forced the Vectra into a ditch, leaving its 35- year-old driver dazed. The doctor was unhurt.
Mr Bambro said: “He was on his phone getting a bank balance and accepted he did not give the road his full attention.”
Stephen Andrews, mitigating, said MacConachie, who already had 11 points on his licence, fully accepted driving without due care and attention.
He said: “He had been sensible enough to have a handsfree kit fitted, but did not realise engaging on the handset to use speed dial was an offence.
He knows it was stupid because his employment is all about driving and he does thousands of miles every year.
“If his licence went, his business would go, the house would go, and his three children would not have a roof above their heads.”
Chairwoman of the bench Patricia Wilson fined Mac- Conachie £265 and imposed six further points on his licence, but accepted his plea of exceptional hardship – allowing him to continue driving.
She said: “The court is not the conscience of your family, and it is your responsibility to look after your children.
“This offence is really bad reading for your licence and you will never be given a chance like this again.
“I suggest you stop speeding, take notice of your driving and do not use a mobile phone. If you come back on any of these offences, you will get no sympathy.”