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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 13:51 GMT
Girl on dashboard driver banned
Police image of the girl on Jack Webb's dashboard
Police have described Webb's actions as "arrogant"
A man has been banned from driving for six months after his coach was stopped on a dual carriageway with a girl on the dashboard as he spoke on a mobile.

But Jack Webb's disqualification for the incident involving the 10-year-old near Shrewsbury in February has been suspended, pending an appeal.

Webb, from Egerton Street, Wrexham, was filmed with a phone in one hand and closing a window with the other.

The 53-year-old admitted driving carelessly on the A5 at Colcott Hill.

Magistrates in Shrewsbury heard he was recorded by police traffic officers on video between the town and Oswestry.

It's unacceptable to put other people's lives in danger because you want to talk on the phone
Acting Sgt Steve Walker
Webb, from Egerton Street, Wrexham, was seen on a mobile with a girl sitting cross-legged on the dashboard of the Volvo coach in the incident on 15 February.

He had been spotted by police in an unmarked car.

Webb, who has been a coach driver for 25 years and also runs a pub, told officers at the roadside that he closed the window because he could not hear his phone.

In his defence, magistrates heard his employer had phoned him as he was driving and insisted on speaking to him.

Owain Williams, defending, said: "In answering the telephone call, he continued to comply with the Highway Code in every way.

Jack Webb
Jack Webb told the girl to get off the dashboard, the court heard
"He adhered to the speed limit, he didn't undertake, he didn't 'cut up' other road users and he didn't brake heavily.

"He didn't want to take the phone call, but felt obliged to do so by a feeling of duty."

Mr Williams added Webb accepts answering the call was an "error of judgment" and he had been "horrified" the girl had climbed on to the dashboard

The child, the daughter of a fellow driver, had refused to get off, despite being told to move by Webb and her mother, the court was told.

Speaking after the case, police said Webb's actions displayed "arrogance and complacency".

'Exceptional hardship'

Acting Sgt Steve Walker, from West Mercia Police, said: "He actually overtook the police vehicle after he was filmed while still using the mobile.

"It's unacceptable and ignorant to put other people's lives in danger just because you want to talk to someone on the phone."

Mr Williams claimed his client should escape a ban from the roads because of the "exceptional hardship" it would cause to his finances and family life.

Webb was fined 250 and ordered to pay 70 costs.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Jack Webb leaves court by window to evade reporters



SEE ALSO:
Man drove with girl on dashboard
12 Oct 04 |  Shropshire


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