Join Date: May 2001
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow
Sneezing driver found guilty
A Canberra man has been found guilty of dangerous driving for continuing to drive while in the middle of a violent sneezing attack.
Toorage Ahadizad was prosecuted after an accident in Kambah in 1999 when, during a six-second sneezing attack, he mounted the kerb on the wrong side of the road and, as he attempted to move back to the correct side, collided with an oncoming vehicle whose driver had been attempting to avoid him.
The magistrate who found him guilty also found that Mr Ahadizad's vehicle had travelled for about 100m during the sneezing attack and while he had his eyes mostly closed.
On appeal to the ACT Supreme Court, Mr Ahadizad complained that the magistrate should have taken into the account the fact that he had had no warning of the attack, nor of its severity.
In dismissing the appeal, Chief Justice Jeffrey Miles said that even during rapid and severe sneezing, a person still had a modicum of control. It was open to the magistrate to find that Mr Ahadizad could and should have applied the brakes and that to continue to drive was dangerous.
The judge rejected the claim that the prosecution had been obliged to prove through expert evidence that Mr Ahadizad's actions had ceased to be voluntary. Common experience would have told the magistrate that to suffer a sneezing fit did not render a driver totally incapable of taking some safety measure to counteract the danger he was facing. Mr Ahadizad had failed to do this.
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.