Driver smashes into truck after falling asleep

A MURGON magistrate declined to disqualify a driver's licence in court this week after the man fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his car.

Police prosecutor Barry Stevens asked to have Glen James Sparks' licence suspended after the crash at Ballogie in November last year.

"At 1pm on November 29 a witness was driving a Kenilworth truck towing a tipper trailer heading eastbound on Chinchilla-Wondai Rd.

"The defendant was driving a white Isuzu D-MAX in the opposite direction.

"The defendant's vehicle swerved into the opposite lane and hit the rear of the witness's trailer, causing major damage to two tyres, then swerved across to the right-hand side of the road and hit a tree."

Sgt Stevens said the witness stopped his truck and another b-double truck also stopped.

"They ran to the defendant's vehicle and he was seen stumbling out of the ute.

"The witness asked what happened and the defendant said he fell asleep.

"Emergency services were contacted and he was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure."

The prosecutor said when Sparks was later spoken to, he recalled seeing the truck driver coming towards him.

"But he doesn't recall what happened after that.

"He said he didn't realise he'd had a collision until after he'd hit the tree. He stated he didn't know whether he fell asleep or not."

Sgt Stevens said the 59-year-old had no similar offences on his traffic history, and that he usually wakes at midnight for his night shift work.

The sergeant recommended a licence suspension of up to four weeks.

Sparks, who was self-representing, said he was taking precautions to ensure it wouldn't happen again.

"I live out of town, and I moved to the district for this full-time job.

"My past history, there's no drink driving or anything that I believe is serious, but I know that what happened is serious."

Sparks asked to apply for a work licence, however Magistrate Louisa Pink said he was not eligible due to the nature of the offence.

"There's been no speeding alleged or allegation of drink driving or being distracted by a mobile phone, however falling asleep obviously has significant consequences," she said.

"There is not a need for protection of the public from you and there's no basis of a pattern.

"You've started a new job and you live some distance out of town and you work in the middle of the night," she said.

"It would create some risk to your employment, therefore I decline to disqualify your licence."

The magistrate convicted and fined Sparks $800 for driving without due care and attention.

South Burnett

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