A Jenkinstown man was described by a District Court Judge in Strokestown, Co Roscommon as driving a “death trap” after he was convicted of driving without brakes and with tyres so bald that they had worn down to the wire.
Ross McIlwain of Killin, Jenkinstown, Dundalk, Co Louth was fined w1,000 for driving without brakes at Lissaphuca, Tulsk, Co Roscommon on October 3, 2012 and was fined a further w2,000 for driving with four bald tyres and w250 for driving without stop lights on his mpv.
Garda Kelly told the court that when Mr McIlwain’s lorry and trailer was stopped at a checkpoint, it was removed for inspection to a local garage where the inspectors found four bald tyres, with the tyres worn down to the wire.
Garda Kelly said that the brakes were inoperative below the prescribed percentage and there was a critical fail on the anti-lock brake. The fifth wheel casing was also a critical fail and the mechanical brake lining was gone while rear suspension joints were gone.
The Garda agreed with solicitor William Henry that Mr McIlwain did anything he was told to repair the deficits to which Judge Geoffrey Browne asked “Was there anything right with it? What would have happened if he had to stop suddenly with a child crossing the road?”
Mr Henry told the court that Mr McIlwain had been excused from court, having attended on at least five previous occasions to deal with prosecutions from the Road Safety Authority and these matters. He had discharged all fines and was now out of the haulage business and although his brother had set up a haulage company, he was not in any control of it.
Mr Henry said that a Certificate of Road Worthiness was actually in place at the time, his client having obtained it six months previously and a new certificate was in place within a short period of time after this incident.
Asked by Judge Browne to account for how his tyres and vehicle had got into such a condition, Mr Henry said Mr McIlwain ascribed to the roads he was travelling. Mr McIlwain was trying to generate a living but the lorry is gone and Mr McIlwain suffers from massive debts.
Mr Henry said there was very little he could put before the court in mitigation for Mr McIlwain as Judge Browne responded “We all have our problems. He driving around on this machine for how long? It is a death trap that vehicle.”
Judge Browne fixed recognisances of €250 and €1,500.