Driving teacher four times over drink limit

A driving instructor who was found to be more than four times over the drink drive limit has been banned from driving for 36 months.

Friday, 9th October 2015, 3:54 pm

Dale Collinson, 49, of Howard Mews, Carnforth, was told by magistrates that he appeared before them with one of the highest readings of alcohol in his breath that they had ever seen.

Mr Peter Bardsley, prosecuting, told the court that on Friday, September 4 at 5.30pm, Collinson was seen in his Mini at St Austell Place by one of the neighbours who heard the 
vehicle making loud engine noises.

Peter Bardsley said: “The accelerator was pressed down and the neighbour was concerned the occupant had fallen ill.She went out to the car and was met by a strong smell of drink. She managed to get him out of the vehicle and switched off the ignition.

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“Police were called and he provided a positive breath test.

“He was arrested and underwent a further breath test at the police station, which was 149mcg in 100ml of breath, well over four times the drink drive limit.

“He told police he had been suffering from depression because he had split with his partner.He stopped in St Austell Place reflecting about life.

“He had left The Canal Turn pub after two or three pints of cider because he had no-one to talk to. He was a driving instructor and had details all over his vehicle which the witness found somewhat strange.”

Defending, John Halewood-Dodd said: “The reading is extremely high, it only goes up to 150 in sentencing guidelines.

“He was a driving instructor for over 10 years and should have known better. He is a man of impeccable character. He led a crime free life but had fallen into a bad patch, including a recent bereavement and a relationship ending. He turned to alcohol to deal with it, not while he was working as a driving instructor, but at night. He had clearly drunk more than two or three pints at the pub and consumed a bottle of wine in the vehicle.

“He loses his profession, he has lost his partner, he has no income other than benefits and he is going to lose his home.”

Chairman of the bench Mr J Murie said: “This is one of the highest readings that this bench has had put before them. It’s a wonder that you are not here on a charge of killing people by dangerous driving. “

Magistrates handed Collinson a 16-week curfew with electronic tag, and ordered him to pay court costs of £85, a victim surcharge of £60 and a criminal court charge of £150. He was banned from driving for 36 months.