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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

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Prescription drug made man unfit to drive, Carlisle court told

A man has been banned from driving after his prescription medication made him so drowsy he was unable to drive.

Craig Smith, 22, pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle while unfit through drugs at Carlisle Magistrates’ Court.

Justices heard how Smith was found slumped over the back seat of his car outside The Regent in Old London Road, Penrith, on March 3, while the keys were still in the ignition, although the engine wasn’t turned on. He was arrested and a roadside breath test later proved negative for alcohol.

But a later sample tested positive for Benzodiazepine – a psychoactive drug which can impair a person’s ability to drive, the court heard.

Smith, of Lawson Street, Aspatria, told officers he recalled driving to Penrith, leaving the keys in the ignition, and going to sleep. In mitigation, the court heard Smith took the prescription drug as normal at 7pm the night before his arrest.

He felt fine the following morning and went off to visit a friend. While on the way he began to feel drowsy, so he did “what he thought was right” and pulled over to have a rest which turned into a deep sleep.

Smith’s solicitor told the court he “understands he should have been more careful but he felt all right and as far as he was concerned the only restriction on the medication was not to operate heavy machinery”.

He added that Smith “apologises profusely for what he has done” and he no longer takes any medication.

Smith was handed a £110 fine and ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs. He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.

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