A recovery truck driver whose vehicle became stuck after he tried to drive through a gap in the central reservation of the A9 near Dunblane, to get to the southbound carriageway has been found guilty of dangerous driving this week.
Perth Sheriff Court heard that James Macfarlane had been driving on a stretch of the A9 between Greenloaning and Dunblane on the evening of December 18, 2019, when he took the decision to drive through the gap, which resulted in his truck blocking one and a half lanes.
McFarlane, who runs his own recovery business, told the court he was trying to cross onto the southbound road to reach a Shell garage, where he was due to collect a Mitsubishi 4×4 vehicle.
“The weather was horrendous. The visibility was very poor. It was very dark. It’s a fairly long truck. It wasn’t like doing a U-turn in a car. The traction was fairly poor. As I was doing this, I heard the sound of heavy braking.”
Lorry driver Andrew Swan, 46, from Dundee, told the court he was unable to avoid the truck due to an overtaking car on his right-hand side.
He said: “I had to make a decision and that decision was to brake, brake, brake and take the hit.
“I put myself in danger but I believe that was the right thing to do.”
Another lorry struck the back of Swan’s vehicle. The court heard that he suffered minor injuries including sore shoulders and whiplash.
Fiscal depute Tina Dickie told the court: “When Mr McFarlane realised he had driven past his destination, he decided to perform this risky manoeuvre.
“He knew he was driving a long, heavy, slow vehicle and he knew he would be entering into the fast lane of a motorway.
“He showed complete disregard for the potential danger to others.”
A defence agent for McFarlane told the court: “It was a U-turn that went wrong.”
Sheriff Gillian Wade told McFarlane, 46, his actions endangered the lives of himself and four other people, including an 11-year-old boy who was a passenger in his cab.
“It was very fortunate in some respects that this did not result in a loss of life,” she said.
McFarlane, from Paisley, was fined £1,500 and banned from driving for a year.