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 Sleeping motorist handed 15 month driving ban


​A man has been banned from driving after being seen slumped at the wheel whilst driving.

Christopher Mawson, of High Hope Street, Crook, was arrested by officers from the Durham Special Constabulary Rural Crime Team in October last year when they attended a road traffic collision in the Tow Law area.

When they arrived, they found 40-year-old Mawson sat behind the wheel of a grey Fiat Punto, but apparently unable to recall the circumstances of the crash.

Officers observed that he had slurred speech, dilated pupils, and was unsteady on his feet, and although he passed a roadside breath test for alcohol, he was later found to have various drugs in his system, including cannabis.

One witness described how Mawson had pulled out from a junction directly in front of them while appearing to be asleep, causing them to brake sharply to avoid a collision.

Appearing at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court this week, Mawson pleaded guilty to driving whilst unfit through drugs.

He was disqualified from driving for 15 months and fined £200.

A spokesperson for Durham Special Constabulary Rural Crime Team said: “It was extremely lucky that Mawson did not cause a serious collision involving other motorists."

“Getting behind the wheel while under the influence of anything that inhibits your ability to drive safely, whether a legal substance or otherwise, puts not only you at risk, but other road users and pedestrians too."

“The consequences of this incident could have been far, far more serious, and I hope Mr Mawson remembers this when his driving ban is lifted.”

Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act states that it is an offence if a person drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place whilst unfit through drink or drugs, which includes legal medication.