A van man caught watching a music videos on his iPad while driving in bad weather on one of Tayside’s busiest routes has avoided going behind bars.
William Matthews from Surrey appeared for sentence at Forfar Sheriff Court on Thursday after the 55-year-old previously admitted driving dangerously on the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen dual carriageway in February last year.
The offence happened shortly before 7am near Clatterha, between Forfar and Brechin on a stretch of the trunk road close to Finavon.
Depute fiscal Robbie Brown said police received a report of a van driving erratically on the dual carriageway.
“They saw the accused and were basically parallel with him but he obviously didn’t see them,” said Mr Brown.
“There was a large tablet propped up and a video on it at the time.”
Defence solicitor Brian Bell said Matthews had been working as a delivery driver and was in a hired van on a journey from Coventry to Aberdeen
“He is embarrassed by what he did and accepts it was utterly stupid,” said Mr Bell.
“He has lost his job as a result and as a result has very little income to pay a fine.
“He was watching an iPad on the dashboard as I understand it, but has no explanation other than it was stupid.’
Sheriff Gregor Murray told Matthews, of West Molesey, Surrey, that he had given serious consideration to sending the accused to jail.
“An offence of this sort is at the very top end of dangerous driving,” said the sheriff.
“I take into account a number of factors -you lost your job, you have almost no record and your remorse.
“For those reasons there is, just, an alternative to a custodial sentence.”
Matthews was ordered to carry out 210 hours unpaid work and banned from driving for two years.
He must also sit an extended test before being allowed back on the road.