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Last Updated: Friday, 4 January 2008, 13:42 GMT
10mph motorway driver given ban
Stephanie Cole
Mrs Cole said she panicked on the motorway

A woman has been banned from driving for seven days after she drove along a motorway at speeds lower than 10mph.

Stephanie Cole, 58, of Fishponds, Bristol, repeatedly braked as she straddled the hard shoulder of the M32.

When police caught her there was a sign on her car which read: "I don't do fast. If I'm too slow for you DON'T hoot just overtake!"

Mrs Cole, who admitted driving without reasonable consideration, was also ordered to take another driving test.

Magistrates said they took into consideration the fact that Mrs Cole has multiple sclerosis.

When officers stopped Mrs Cole, she told them she had "no confidence" on the motorway.

Sign in the back of Mrs Cole's car
Mrs Cole has been undergoing treatment for "fear of driving"

She had been travelling from her home to a Staples stationery store when she was arrested by police on 30 August.

"I really didn't want to go on the motorway, but I desperately had to go to Staples for an ink cartridge," she said.

"I don't know any other way to get to it so I went that way," she added.

"I think it was one of those things you do by mistake and that's exactly it was, I was on there by mistake.

"It just felt awful. I didn't know what to do. I panicked and turned to jelly inside and I didn't know what to do."

North Avon Magistrates' Court had previously heard that Mrs Cole's GP had been treating her for "fear of driving" for the past three-and-a-half years.

Andrew Howard, from motoring organisation the AA, said there had been calls for a minimum as well as maximum speed limit but enforcement of this could be tricky.

"It's something that's often talked about but really is hard to do on a practicality basis.

"We know that there are lots of times when the weight of traffic, for example on a motorway, means that you can get nowhere near the proper speed limit, you may even have to stop, and obviously if there was a minimum speed limit there would be a lot of confusion when that happens."

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