back to article Italian Job sat nav driver cops £900 fine

The Doncaster man who slavishly followed his sat nav to the edge of a West Yorkshire cliff has been punished with a £370 fine, £500 costs, a £15 victim surcharge and six points on his licence for driving without due care and attention. Robert Jones, 43, was driving his £30,000 BMW 5 Series though the village of Gauxholme back …


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  1. Dr. Mouse


    'nuf said ^

  2. NoOnions

    Bloody typical of many people these days...

    Never take responsibility for your own actions - blame something or someone else. No doubt he'll try suing TomTom next. Twat.

  3. Matt Bucknall

    Move alone, nothing to see here...

    ...just another moron in a BMW.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    One word....


    That is all.

  5. lansalot


    Got off lightly - should have fined him more for clearly being a twat.

  6. Rob


    He should have carried on driving, he definately could have been a contender for the Darwin Awards, we could do with less BMW drivers in the world.

    Ironically I can picture it now, he's falling and in a panic he accidently hits his indicator arm and switches them on "oh that's what they do"... CRASH.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    On the initial read of this in my feeds I was thinking it was going to be some trumped up charge the police had given some faultless driver. Police harassing drivers kind of thing like they do with photographers etc.

    But now I realise that pure stupidity is to blame; I'm hoping I'm not the only one who wonders how these people actually manage to survive in life? Or is this a trait only for those who drive BMWs?

    Paris - Because she knows natural selection will prevail...

  8. The Beer Monster

    What a complete f**kwit.

    I'm surprised the idiot remembers how to breathe.

    Let's all blame the technology because of the user's stupidity...

  9. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Sounds harsh

    So this guy wasn't on the public road. Wasn't putting anyone else at risk (unless they'd happened to be picnic-ing under the cliff edge) and didn't do any damage, except to a piece of fence and maybe the bodywork of his car. While no-one would disagree that what he did was dumb I can't see his "crime" was commensurate with the costs he was ordered to pay and a fine on top AND THEN the costs to recover his car. As for a £15 "victim surcharge"? Taking the mickey or what?

    From the small number of farmers I've met and talked to, I'd expect this one who owned the path would've been happy with £100 to fix his fence and for another £100, would've hitched the car to his tractor and given the guy a tow - at least back off the edge. Why were the police even involved in this situation on private land?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    A title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    "seriously wrong turn when he hit a fence on the edge "

    I'm glad that common sense has prevailed and he's been punished. He clearly didn't see the fence or was looking at the road. Glad he didn't mow down any people on the footpath he was driving down ... what a cock!

  11. phil 21


    a dumbarse.

  12. SuperTim

    "users should be made more aware they should only use them as a guide"

    Really? Because mine tells me to obey it slavishly whenever i turn it on.

    Oh, and while we are at it, the little stalk on the side of the steering wheel that appears to have no function is for your indicators.

  13. groovyf

    No sympathy

    Quoted for truth...

    He said: "I might have been an idiot by taking the wrong road or by carrying on, but I haven't driven without due care and attention."

    If he had paid attention, he wouldn't have got himself into the mess he did.

  14. Adrian Jooste


    Seems like this device was trying to off the user and make it look like an accident. They're getting more crafty by the day...

    Be vigilant my fellow fleshies!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So he was fed two contradictory pieces of information and went with the wrong one, why is this a huge fine and incredible penalty points?

    "the point where his eyes and his brain must have been telling him otherwise to such a degree he was not exercising proper control of the vehicle"

    Rubbish, he made a bad choice, and had to go on. If you couldn't get his car out, except with Quads, how is he supposed to do it? It wouldn't be the first time a muddy farm track is a real road.. That sounds like a laughable mistake turned into a police incident by the twats in blue and a typical smug magistrate point scoring.

  16. Thomas Bottrill

    RE: Sounds harsh

    If he had been exercising this level of care and attention on the public road, which he would've been on before going on to private land, then he WAS putting other people at risk. The point was that he was paying more attention to his satnav than to what was ahead of him, which he would've been doing before driving up the bridle path.

  17. Lord Elpuss Silver badge


    I'm undecided about this one. While he clearly could have used a bit more common sense, the path in the pic looks like it might just be able to take a car (at least until it ran off a cliff) and one would tend to think that if it's shown as a road on TomTom, it should be a road in real life. Then all of a sudden a cliff jumps out of nowhere and there you are, teetering on the edge with your axles on view to the world.

    Yes, it's unwise to rely exclusively on satnav.

    Yes, he could have used some common sense.

    Yes, the AA was probably right to charge him for getting him out of his predicament, but being taken to court and given harsher penalties than yobbos who beat up grannies for their pension money? Come on.

    In my fondest poetic justice dreams, I'm fantasising about the judge driving home from court, following his undoubtedly very expensive inbuilt satnav, and driving through his own front window because he programmed it to take him home, and it assumed 'home' meant in the living room, on the sofa.

    Oh, and then being prosecuted for criminal damage, being pilloried in the press for not having the sense to program in 'driveway' instead of 'home', given a million billion pound fine, losing his license for the next infinity+1 years and being ordered to do 10,000 hours community service checking every inch of TomTom's maps to make sure they are accurate to the nearest millimetre.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    "So this guy wasn't on the public road."

    He was on a Public Bridleway which is still classed as a Highway.

  19. Adrian Mackenzie

    5000 miles a week??

    "Jones, who had been using the system since December 2008 and said he was left in shock by the incident, added: "I drive 5,000 miles a week and I never have had a problem with it. I had no reason not to trust it."

    For someone who drives 5000 miles a week (surely not??) he deserves everything he got - stupid bugger should know better!

  20. john loader

    Tom Tom is often barmy but I still use it

    I have a Tom Tom and feed back errors to the makers but still it tells me to go through the unmade car park of a heritage railway station or to use a farm track with gates on it rather than the B road that I should take near our village. Ofen i can't even see the track it claims I should take. But it doesn't take a Nobel prize winner to spot that Tom Tom just uses Ordnance Survey maps without checking whether a marked track is actually suitable for a car so you have to be aware that you can, literally, be led up the garden path.

  21. Ally J

    Beyond belief

    I can just imagine the bewilderment at SkyNet: 'Fnck me - they really are that stupid'. Now all our satnavs will turn against us and send us heading towards Beachy Head.

  22. Anonymous John

    @ Sounds harsh

    Not really. He's been fined for being a twat.

  23. dreadful scathe

    satnav ...sigh!

    most people have no trouble realising that a satnav is a "guide" - except idiots - including this man :) He was lucky to get away with it with only a small fine and 6 points.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    BMW Drivers

    What's the problem with BMW drivers?

    Some of us enjoy driving cars with a bit of heritage and which don't look like they were designed by an ADHD-riddled five year old. Not all of us want 87,000 different seat combinations so the spoiled illiterate bastards in the back can watch Disney's latest offering while simultaneously carting half of Ikea around.

    "Oh, you have the new Renault Toddler? I hear it's made from 100% recycled sustainable yoghurt cardigans. We were going to get one but decided on the Vauxhall i-Minge. It was the advert that sold us; you know the one with the undercranked shots of a family driving along the Cote d'Azur with shit-eating grins and dad accidentally shoots himself in the face with a revolver"

    Sorry, BMW haters but real people drive real cars. Pretend post-modern hipster ponces base their buying decisions on adverts which feature sock puppets and surfers.

    Now fuck off. I'm going for a drive in my Beemer. You can run around like an arse all day in your plastic toy making sure Elizabetha, Chim-Chim, Grapefuit and Donkeywagon have ample quantities of moustache wax, ritalin and recently discovered learning difficulties. You're not a shit parent; just a Guardian-reading reactionary common-or-garden wanker.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    What, blame TomTom for this?

    He's a prat, that's what he is... Blaming TomTom for taking him up a bridle-path. Jeez.

    I've used TomTom since version 3.0, and never have I had an incident like this. When it looks dodgy, I'll rather continue on my original route and see whether the system recalculates. It tends to.

    The only dodgy deal I ever got was following TomTom around a farm lane to 'short cut' around the town of Rhayader.

  26. Neil 4
    Thumb Up

    Twat in a BMW gets fined?

    There is justice after all!

  27. Mark Lockwood

    This doesn't surprise me

    He's a BMW driver. I have it on good authority that the next versions of the 5 series will come without an indicator control, as they are never used in the current models

  28. Anonymous Coward

    He deserves a medal. No, really.

    After all, It was an English plodster making these allegations against him, but he was only following orders - he should be held up as an example to us all to do as we are told.

    Anyway, it didn't turn out so badly - there's no doubt yet another set of digital dabs in the dodgy dna database dossier.

  29. Mike Bell

    A Grand Day Out

    Whilst on holiday in the Lake District, my Sat Nav decided to take me on a pleasant drive through the countryside. Pleasant enough, until the road slowly turned into a dirt track and - some time later - required the opening and closing of gates to continue.

    Not to be foiled by such rustic peculiarities, I battled on and made it to civilisation some three or four gates and cattle grids later on.

    Now, was I a twat for slavishly obeying the Sat Nav? Lucky that I made it out alive? Way too lazy for not having a real map?

    As it happens it was a fun day out.

    And a good job that there were no cliffs about.

    So, have a heart on the poor sap in the BMW. It's not always as black & white as you might think.

  30. Dennis


    Don’t you realise that SatNavs are sentient creatures. This one was obviously tired of life (it had been to London too many times). It had heard about lemmings and decided to leap off a cliff.

    Mr Jones should take his SatNav for a restful holiday in Morocco where the navigating instructions are much simpler.

  31. Code Monkey

    Moron gets 6 points

    A story to show the system doesn't always get it wrong. Thanks El Reg!

  32. John Murgatroyd

    I was just following orders

    That defence didn't work at war crimes trials either.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: SuperTim

    "Oh, and while we are at it, the little stalk on the side of the steering wheel that appears to have no function is for your indicators."

    Yes I know that, but mine is bust so I don't use it.

    the light goes on

    the light goes off

    the light goes on

    the light goes off

    the light goes on

    the light goes off

    The mechanic told me it was an intermittent fault so he couldn't fix it.....

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "If he had been exercising this level of care and attention on the public road, which he would've been on before going on to private land, then he WAS putting other people at risk. The point was that he was paying more attention to his satnav than to what was ahead of him, which he would've been doing before driving up the bridle path."

    IMHO, it was a narrow Bridleway, so he must have been paying attention to the road because he didn't come off the sides of a narrow road. Hence the magistrates reasoning is faulty. If he hit a fence post, and the car could not be moved without the aid of quad bikes, then that tells me he couldn't have stopped and turned around on its own power.

    Also the photo reminds me of that narrow path in Grand Designs where the guy lives at the end of a farm track. It was a minor mistake.

    The hypothesis that if he was on a public road he would be putting someone at risk, to me this simply confirms the poor judgement, because you're substituting the thing you WISH to punish him for, the thing he actually did. As though the thing he actually did isn't that bad!

    The rest of the comments, things like "serves him right" that's just schadenfreude - the shameful joy in seeing others suffer. Downtrodden societies like Germany, where their lives are oppressed are like that. They seek joy in others being more oppressed than they are, rather than joy in their own happy lives. i.e. a no substance argument, a secret 'glad it wasn't me' type argument.

  35. Adam Cooper
    Black Helicopters

    Reminds me of the Milgram experiment

    He could see what he was doing was wrong. But someone/thing was telling him to carry on doing it anyway.

  36. HFoster


    Problem(/Prat/Pr!ck) Exists Between Steering wheel And Chair.

    Seriously, how can you drive with your brain switched off just because the sat-nav says so? What a mug. Should've fined him the cost of his car.

  37. Chris 135

    Todmorden Sat-Nav accident

  38. Anonymous Coward

    5000 miles a week is surely a misprint?

    That's 1000 miles per working day. Even if you could drive for 12 hours solid, you'd have to keep up a steady 83mph.

    Mind you, that could explain why he went over a cliff. He was too tired and going too fast.

  39. MrJP

    It was a tragic combination of...

    the fact that he was driving through or near Todmorden which is basically a town in a valley that forms a cess-pit of the freaks, wraiths and strays of society (I can only assume they have an urge to gather at the lowest point around). I imagine the collective aura of these weirdos probably emit some sort of noxious gas or other air-bourne emission which can temporarily effect outsiders, particularly those who are of the mental disposition to drive for long enough that there's only "seven miles of diesel remaining", those who "drive for a living" yet don't have a cheap (or otherwise) in-car mobile phone charger and those who are diabetic and have "no insulin" with them!

    I'm also really fighting the urge to slurry what I think is a sound argument with the stereotype that he also owns a god-damn BMW....PRICK....oops!

  40. Matt White 1

    People are seriously defending this guy...?

    He's driven along a path that seems to be about two foot wide from the picture, and only stopped when he went through a fence and nearly off a cliff. That's not 'paying due care and attention', that's 'being a fucking idiot'.

  41. JohnG

    "Driving without due care and attention" on private land?

    OK -this chap wasn't very bright but the penalties seem a bit steep considering he didn't actually hit any other road users or damage any public property - maybe that's because he took the unwise decision to defend himself.

    Given he got into trouble on private land, he was only guilty of trespass - surely "driving without due care and attention" would only apply if he was on a public road?

    Of course, what he should have done was not to call the police (or the AA) but find the farmer, apologise and pay the farmer a wad of cash to pull him out and pay for any damage to the path and/or fence. Job done, no court, no fine, no points, no national press attention.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Try hard knot pass

    @Mike Bell, if you holiday in the Lake District, there's a great road, called "Hard Knot Pass" that's a lot of fun. Not as difficult as muddy farm tracks in the fells, but winding enough and steep enough to be a good drive.

    Only thing is, its slippy in places, if you come off a corner and get stuck, call a farmer rather than the emergency services, and save yourself 6 points.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    What about at night?

    We once had to rely on Tomtom to drive at night, and used the shortest route option to avoid going through the motorways. It took us through some really small roads.

    My advice is this: Do NOT use the shortest route option!

  44. sig

    Obviously he was distracted... a passing cyclist's lycra-clad, non-road-tax-paying, bulging genitalia..

  45. Trygve Henriksen

    He got off easy!

    Yes, really.

    If you don't notice that the road is turning too bad to drive, and still believe that you're on a public road, then you can't be trusted to accurately judge anything else in traffic, either.


    Yes, he WAS speeding.

    You should NEVER drive faster than that you can stop safely on the amount of road visible in front of you. And in the case of one lane roads, halve that distance.

    The fact that he hit the fence is testament to the fact that he was driving too fast for the road.


    When he realised that the road was getting too bad(but before going over and hitting the fence), why didn't he put it in reverse and back out of there?

    Tip to BMW owners; see the gear selector? See that funny 'R' setting? No... it's not a poorly implemented 'Race' setting. It allows your car to move backwards!

    Just turn your head or look in the mirrors, and it's possible to see the road behind the car!

    Isn't modern technology fun?

    Why didn't the farmer tow him out with a tractor?

    Besides the fact that the car doesn't have a tow hook, and that if you're not very, very careful, you'll end up destroying the car completely?

  46. Olaf 1

    Nice one Judge

    I think the Judge got it spot on. He was a slave to the satnav and not paying attention to the road so he wasn't in full control of the car.

    Fine wasn't so heavy to be silly. A good call I think. Hopefully other sat-nav slaves will take notice that the damn things don't mean that you can stop paying attention to the feckin road.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    @Evil Graham

    "...That's 1000 miles per working day. Even if you could drive for 12 hours solid, you'd have to keep up a steady 83mph."

    Yup he's a BMW driver, going UNDER 83mph is difficult enough....however I'm suprised he went up this lane.

    a) it had no right hand lane to sit in, even when all other lanes are empty

    b) there was no one to tailgate.

    No wonder he was confused...

  48. Loki 1

    Look at the photo

    He drives a BMW and is wearing a track suit. I think that tells the entire story.

    And.. @Will_22 - Sorry, but not everyone can afford a BMW. We have budget constraints which means we are stuck with our cheap pieces of shit until they fall apart.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Will 22

    An M3 driver salutes you sir!

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Sounds harsh, @Wrong

    If he was indeed up a Public Bridleway, then he could also have been prosecuted under S34/34A of the Road Traffic Act. A Public Bridleway is a highway, but one which confers no right of way for mechanically propelled vehicles. Public rights of way may cross private land, but they are still public places: imagine the horror if a bunch of the Bobble Hat Brigade were marching the opposite way and were bumped by a car doing 3mph (rather than the usual "horse gets scared and kicks all their heads in").

    If said "road" was a Byway Open To All Traffic, then he had as much right as any other user to be there - but leaving a Byway and almost running over a cliff is like running your car off any other road by driving without due care and attention.

    Regardless, he still sounds like a bit of a tool.

  51. James Smith 3

    TomTom Liability

    I agree that this guy's a complete idiot, but surely TomTom should take some flak for this?

    Their device has provided inaccurate information which put lives at risk. It is implied that the directions given are suitable for a normal car. Where were the directions intending to take him? Off the cliff? Down a footpath?

    If the OS produced a map that showed this brideway as suitable for normal cars they'd get into steamy heaps of trouble.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Will 22 - made my day

    The Vauxhall i-Minge - priceless. I almost wish I hadn't had the snip, so I could have another kid and call it Donkeywagon.

    Rarely does a Reg comment rise above mediocre, but that was genius.

    Cheers, I'm off to invent another learning disorder now.

  53. The Beer Monster


    Problem Resides In Car, 'K ?

  54. Chris Malme

    No different to a passenger reading a map

    I have been using SatNav for years - long before they became popular - and have never had a problem. I have always told people that you should treat the SatNav exactly like a passenger beside you reading map directions. Listen to what they say, and then apply that to what you see ahead of you. If what the passenger/SatNav doesn't make immediate sense to you, ignore it and follow your instincts.

    This sometimes mean you *do* drive past the turning you should have taken, and have to go around the block (or to the next motorway junction). But that is far preferable to following the passenger/SatNav instructions slavishly and driving down a one-way street the wrong way, leaving a motorway to "shortcut" through a tiny village or driving down a railway track or off the edge of a cliff.

    It's not the fault of the SatNav - it is the moron using it.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @People are seriously defending this guy...?

    "He's driven along a path that seems to be about two foot wide from the picture"

    And what was the road like at the entrance where the mistake was made? Certainly no cliff, no slippy rocks or tight bend. If you took a wrong turn down a narrow path and it got narrower, would you continue in the hope it would get better, or try to reverse the whole way back out?

    "And only stopped when he went through a fence and nearly off a cliff. That's not 'paying due care and attention', that's 'being a fucking idiot'."

    Looking at the road with the drop either side, do you believe, as the magistrate did, that he was looking at the Satnav and not at the road? I find that to be just poor judgement by the magistrate, he didn't need to look at the satnav at that point because there was no turnoffs, the magistrates statement is nonsensical.

    I reckon he was unfortunate, the magistrate hasn't driven down many narrow mountain roads, he was in a BMW which always invokes sterotypical images, it was a fuss to get him out, so the rozzers needed to justify the time, the map maker who drew the road in from the aerial photo made a mistake, a lot of mistakes by a lot of people, only one of which was his.

    Let me flip it over, instead of me saying why he SHOULDN'T be punished. Why do you think that he SHOULD be punished? For what gain?

    IMHO, the fix for this, is better signage at the turnoff and the satnav map to be fixed. He, him, the driver, could be anyone, me, you, the magistrate, and it's nice to kid ourselves that we wouldn't make that mistake, but that's to flatter ourselves. The guy is a professional driver who delivers cars, if he can make that mistake we certainly can.

    If the map maker can make the mistake from the aerial photo then a driver (who can't see the road ahead like the map maker can), can certainly make that mistake.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mike Bell

    I've driven down the same road/track. It is a real track as if you are heading away from Windemere its signposted for Black Moss. Its a very pretty road too.

    Its actually got 2 wheel sized tracks that are tarmacced/concrete but takes you through gates etc. You get sat-nav'd if you are driving towards Windemere on the A591 and turn down the B5284. It then directs you to Ings to get back on the A591 even though it's actually quicker to stay on the A591.

    Its just that the sat nav (garmin) treats this road/track as National Speed limit as none is applied so since its shorter than staying on the A591. you end up getting directed down it.

    If you do it once, you never do it again - or do what I did and set the Sat Nav to only do HGV capable roads.

  57. Andrew Moore


    A prime case of "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    extraction operatives... wtf are they

    use to call them dental nurses... but seems they prefer to pull a BMW..

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Hard done by ?

    Okay, so it's a dodgy road, but it doesn't look like he was doing a ton up it, and if you look at the Sun's picture of the rescue it's over a small hillock then into a decline, then over the edge. Probably never saw it coming to the last, "oh, shit!" moment.

    If he truly wasn't paying attention then he wouldn't have stopped. That trivial fence would unlikely have held his car back. The problem with recovering the vehicle is that it's on a downward slope. As a driver in that situation, with a cliff up-front, I'd not risk trying to back-up and have the car slip and go over. If he had extricated it ,it would probably be marked-up as "oops; nearly shat myself, I need a beer", and we and the plod would be none the wiser. As it is, it took professionals nine hours to extract the vehicle. Contrary to "Italian Job" and "Dangling over the edge" there seems no evidence that it was ( see Sun's photo ).

    I've been caught out like this ( not by following SatNavs, and not by driving over cliffs ); on the Pennines, Wales and other places in the country where narrow tracks - ''call this a road!" - are not uncommon. Worse case was near central Manchester though where missing "no entry" signs led me to nearly drive onto a motorway the wrong way up an off-ramp.

    Also in Manchester I encountered a crossroads with "no entry " signs on each corner, so impossible to tell which of the roads they applied to.

    Got caught out in Chelsea also; a newly resurfaced one-way road with no road markings had me continue onwards across the junction on the right, which happened ( I think ) to be the wrong side of a two-way road. I only twigged something was perhaps wrong when I turned right at the next junction and thought "why were there only traffic lights for the left lane" ?

    Took me over half an hour to get un-lost on a ring road around Leatherhead; signs I was hoping / expecting to see ( "London" ) were only on the clockwise route, not the anti-clockwise section I was driving on.

    More, "there, but for the Grace of God, go I", rather than dickhead in my opinion. Of course, those El Reg commentators crying "wanker" would never find themselves in such an unfortunate predicament, nor have skeletons of sheer embarrassment of stupidity in their closets, oh no.

    I also got completely lost in Paris once.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    I would drive 5,000 miles

    5,000 miles in a week - 240,000PA? That's got to be an entry in the Guiness Book of World records, after all - that's the distance from the Earth to the Moon [in a year], that's 45,257,143 London buses or 4,224,000 football pitches.

    HI car would need servicing monthly (I've not factored that in to my average speed calculation) and he'd need a new engine probably once or twice a year

    If true, he must end his day with a spectacularly numb bum.

    Surely not!

    As the driver or a relativly new BMW you could assume he's some sort of sales wonk so probably works 5 days a week. There are 120 hours in that 5 day week.

    If he sleeps for 6 hours a day and spends an hour a day on eating etc that reduces his available time to 85 hours.

    If he manages just one appointment per day then his driving hours are reduced to 80 per week.

    To cover 5000 milesin 80 hours, he would have to average 62.5mph. Not possible.

    Either - he's "bigging himself up" [AKA telling porkies], the Sun is bigging him up or there's a typo and he drives a fare more realistic 500/wk or 24,000 miles PA approx

  61. Paul 4

    Due care.

    He was on a public highway. He hit somthing because he was not looking. Lack of due car and attention. Simple.

  62. nichomach
    Thumb Up

    @Will 22

    Regardless of the fact that this particular Beemer driver was self-evidently a twat of the first water, your comment borders on genius - well done! And this from someone who's going to T-Bone the next X-series he sees not indicating at a roundabout...

  63. Linbox

    @Will22 - FoTW

    I nominate you for FoTW. You owe me a new keyboard pall.

    Beemer drivers unfortunately earned their reputation when the company came down-market enough that every sales rep in the country could afford one. The 3-series, far from being a prestige marque, is one of the most mass produced cars in history - I think from memory it's only the Vauxhall/Opel Corsa that has been made in larger quantities. Twenty years ago, all of the road-warrior morons were driving Ford Sierras, I would strongly contend that the 'new BMW' award for most twatty drivers on the road is firmly owned by Audi, now that their cars have become more popular with fleet owners.

    plus ca change.

    Now what's the best way of getting coffee out of a laptop keyboard...?

  64. jai

    "users should be made more aware they should only use them as a guide"

    and there really ought to be a minimum IQ level below which you are not allowed a driving license, for your own good

    if you need to be told not to follow TomTom regardless then you really shouldn't be allowed Outside without medical supervision

  65. Marvin the Martian

    El Reg a bit economical with the facts

    Apparently none or few of the commentors have clicked on the link to see the photo...

    In that story it becomes clear that the man in question is (a) a delivery driver -- so not a rich twat in a BMW, there go the self-satisfied comments, and (b) an ex-soldier -- so too used to taking orders... someone should have explained him the chain of command, where he's above the satnav.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Nice one Will!

    Fervent car-hating or car-luving is as bad as fervent nationalism or religious fanaticism. Just plain dumb. It doesn't help anyone.

    The 5 series is a nice well designed car apart from a design flaw with the indicators.

    Just because "some" BMW drivers are idiots doesn't mean that all BMW's should be hated with a passion.

    The guy was an idiot ending up where he did, but the SatNav company should also take a lot of the blame here. They really need to be able to differentiate between the road size and the vehicle size - a large lorry option would be good for example.

  67. Juan Inamillion
    Thumb Up

    Watch the video and you'll understand

    For those Doubting Thomases here who can't understand why the driver is a epic tool, watch the video of the incident and see the angles, grades and path surface involved. The local farmer is absolutely spot on for saying it was amazing that he got that far. And then he ties up public (and private) services for 9 hours because of his epic ineptitude.

    The fine etc: Quite right too, it's what happens if you go sailing without all the necessary equipment in a boat not suited for the journey and you get into trouble. The RNLI send you the bill.

    Theis driver clearly should not be allowed to drive or handle machinery.

    And for others here - he was NOT a salesman, he was delivering the car - read the fucking article!

    @Will 22 - Brilliant stuff mate, but you might want to cut down on the expressos.

  68. The Dorset Rambler


    "My tom-tom took me up the bridle path"

  69. Anonymous Coward

    @Andy Poulton

    You can write but not read then? Read the article to see why all your points (except maybe a 500/5000 typo) are wrong..

  70. ChrisC Silver badge

    Vroom vroooooooohhhhh crap...

    @AC 11:10

    "The guy is a professional driver who delivers cars"

    He's certainly someone who drives for business, but since anyone with a normal car licence could do his job then he's hardly a professional.

    @Marvin the Martian

    I did read the article, and whilst it did mention that he worked as a delivery driver, it also used the phrase "his car"/"his BMW" several times. This, coupled with him not being on a delivery run at the time leads me to suspect it was actually his personal vehicle and not one he was in the process of delivering anywhere. Indeed, if it was a delivery vehicle and I was the owner of said vehicle, I'd now be pretty livid to learn that the person charged with its safe delivery to me was using it as his personal runabout...

  71. H 5
    Paris Hilton

    Darwin Award

    ..honourable mention.

    What a numpty, "Killed by TomTom", moron.

  72. HFoster

    @Beer Monster


  73. Dimitrov

    What's with all the BMW hate?

    Do I smell sweet, sweet jealousy?

  74. Anonymous Coward

    why the hatred for BMW drivers

    You are all misdirecting your hatred at BMW drivers. Everyone knows the drivers who dont understand indicators, havent heard of the left hand lane on motorways and like to drive so close they can read your speedo have all shifted their loyalty to Audi's now.

    As for this guy I cant decide if he has been harshly treated but one thing is for sure he is obviously still waiting for his Audi to be delivered.

  75. Andrew Beresford

    For your pleasure...,-4.042969&sspn=13.674025,29.53125&ie=UTF8&ll=53.704482,-2.110231&spn=0.000834,0.001802&t=h&z=19

  76. Adam Foxton

    The real supidity

    From a linked article:

    Jones, a diabetic, told the court he had only seven miles of diesel remaining, and no insulin, or mobile phone battery remaining.

    Now that's a late-model Beemer. To get it down to 7 miles you're running on fumes (or the diesel equivalent). You'll have been warned and warned again, and are unlikely to have not passed a petrol station.

    Not having spare insulin in the car when you're a diabetic who drives a lot should be a criminal offence.

    And not having any mobile battery when he's in a car is just idiotic. He can afford a Beemer- he should be able to afford the extra £20 for a decent cigar-lighter charging cable!

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    6 points and a big fine

    What the hell for - he has done none harm, and has paid for all damages.

    He gave us all something to argue about, but has hurt no one.

    Looking at the youtube video, yes it seems incredible, but it looks like once he got so far he could clear not get a rear wheel drive car back up, his only hope of getting out was by carrying on, (he was probably scared of having to admit he had got stuck and it just got worse and worse).

    He may have been stupid - but the punishment does not fit the ......, hold on, what crime ?

    I understand the knee jerk - haha it's a Beemer - therefore he should die argument - but it's time for a reality check.

    He got to look a right numpty and had to pay all expenses - why does he have to be fined and hit with 6 penalty points ?

    If you make a mistake and turn the wrong way what is the appropriate corrective action ?

    1. Electrocution

    2. Sterilisation

    3. DNA sample and cavity search

    4. Nothing

    It's a slippery slope alright, conviction without offence..............

  78. Neil 4


    Although I earlier called him a twat, it does remind me of the time I stayed in a cottage near Scarborough and the only way to get to it was down a disused railway track barely wide enough for a car. But that was the only way there. No Sat-Nav back then either.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've got an E36 3-series. If memory serves that's the one that out-sold the Ford Focus.

    Fair enough it's got no prestige at all, but it does have a nice smooth 2-litre, 6-cylinder engine. It's just topped 160,000 miles and while some bits are wearing out (wheel bearings, suspension bushings, etc) it's still going strong. And after over 100Mn rotations those wheel bearings are doing damn well!

    My Ford, however, isn't. At half that milage (still pretty high for a car) it got a 2-page failure list on its MoT. Oddly enough, it's the Ford that the indicators stopped working on rather than the beemer. Much nicer (leather) interior on the Ford though!

    So from this I can conclude that the BMW is a much better made car- and my next car will again be a BMW.

  80. Graham Marsden

    This just goes to show...

    ... that some people are too stupid to be allowed on the road!

    The Driving Test should include an IQ test along with reminders that a Sat Nav is an *aid* to driving, not a substitute for using your brains and your eyes.

  81. Anonymous John

    @ One word....

    Satnavtard is another word.

    And according to Google, I'm the first person in the history of the human race ever to use it. Now to try and get it in the Urban Dictionary.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course it is only an aid but...

    What if he had done it without the sat nav? Would it still be a criminal offence? People have been stuck on beaches, in holes, on hills since driving began. (and before that on foot) It is criminal to be dumb now?

    If you click on birds eye view and follow the track back, he first turned into a narrow lane with walls both sides. He came to a very sharp right angled bend which must have taken some getting round. I bet once past that bend he would not have been able to reverse back anyway. Going on may have been the only option. Not bright, but I personally wouldn't call it a criminal offence. I suspect it was a mistake after which it was impossible to do anything other than try and go on or admit defeat and call for help. (difficult with no working phone) Most people while there is still hope of continuing will do so.

    The pity is if you look, he was only about 75 yards from joining the road again, and no one would have been any the wiser.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WTF is a " victim surcharge"

    He might be stupid - but the law is really crazy.

  84. Andrew Taylor 1


    if you'd seen the earlier reports of what this idiot did you will have seen that he drove past a road sign that clearly states "not suitable for motor vehicles" and that's why he got done. He ignored a road sign end ended up hanging his heap off a cliff.

    He deserves everything he got.

  85. John Dougald McCallum

    satnav cockup,-4.042969&sspn=13.674025,29.53125&ie=UTF8&ll=53.704482,-2.110231&spn=0.000834,0.001802&t=h&z=19

    check out this google maps referance I did the road starts out as a tarmac surface then a dirt farm track then a very narrow path a long distance from whare he finnaly stoped so plenty of chances to turn round mised. I also doubt that he does 5000 miles a week.I have done 500 miles in one day before took about 10 hours and I was knackered afterwards (Huddersfield to Gloucester and back via Oxford) Donn't ask it was summer and I was bored.

  86. raving angry loony

    get off the road

    They should have fined him, then taken away his license for being a complete idiot. What a plonker!

  87. Trygve Henriksen

    @AC with 'old' BMW...

    So your BMW has done 160.000 miles...

    I guess it has a few miles up on my Citroën Berlingo as it has only done 216.000Km, yet.

    Sure, I had to replace the engine recently, but that was my own fault for not taking proper care of it. It SHOULD last for at least 400.000Km, without any problems.

    (I got a nice 1997 vintage that had only done 140.000 to replace it.)

    Not only does it 100Km on 6.5L WITH a roof-rack mounted, but it's comfy, I have good visibility, and lots of luggage space.

    In fact, the only 'problem' is that it's the same red colour as the Norwegian Mail's fleet of Peugeot Partners...

    You can keep your BMW... I prefer a driver's car.

  88. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    We've all seen where he ended up

    I'd like to see the turn *into* that road - which he took after dark in an area which probably doesn't have streetlights. Once he'd turned in, he was committed and probably spent a mile going "Surely this isn't right? It's a bloody farm track. Damn councils just don't maintain these minor roads." until the horrible truth dawned.

    Incidentally, did he "hit a fence" as in "crashed into a fence" (not an indication of good driving) or as in "go straight on until you hit Sheffield" (which is conceptually quite a nice idea, and doesn't imply careless driving)

  89. Matthew 4

    the icon says it..

    need we say more

  90. MinionZero

    We nearly had one less moron to worry about.

    It just goes to prove Darwinian Natural Selection still applies even today.

  91. Stephen Byrne

    50/50 here I think

    Surely the town council would have put up a sign at the entrance to this rollercoaster saying "NO ENTRY FOR VEHICLES"

    Although on the face of it he looks like a dumbass, I think the Satnav is a bit of a red herring. It only told him to take the turn, remember it was dark and late at night, so maybe he had no way of knowing that the lane became a track until it was too late and figured it was better to keep going (he is ex-army after all, they can follow orders).

    That being said, his comments that "users should be made more aware they should only use them as a guide" do seem to indicate a slight lack of independent thought and/or higher brain function!

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I found it!


    TBH I can see the confusion- "Watty Lane" is apparently marked as a road. Appropriately near to "Bac[k]up Road" too...

  93. Mark McC

    5000 miles a week?

    OK, someone needs to tell him that driving the missus down to Tesco's doesn't involve going through the Channel Tunnel and a round trip via Hamburg, despite what his TomTom says.

  94. Witty username
    Thumb Up


    i used to roll about in my old land barge, a E34 525 diesel. Chronicly slow, but i rolled it up to the MOT station with 240,000 miles (you read that right) on the clock and it rolled right back out again with a MOT. Bar an oil change, i never serviced it once, it just kept on going and going and going.

    Old BMW's are brilliant cars, its just the middle management/IT Manager esque pricks that drive the new ones giving them a bad name!

  95. Mike Hocker

    Too narrow for a horse?

    But wide enough for a BMW?

    Yob said: "so precarious that he would not, as a general rule, take his own horses down because it was so narrow".

    Seems like the driver got a bridle path haircut by the locals, who are now undoubtedly celebrating in the local pub.

  96. Marina

    Just wanna know...

    ... why was there a fence at the edge of the cliff?

  97. Mike Smith

    @BMW Drivers

    "Oh, you have the new Renault Toddler? I hear it's made from 100% recycled sustainable yoghurt cardigans. We were going to get one but decided on the Vauxhall i-Minge. It was the advert that sold us; you know the one with the undercranked shots of a family driving along the Cote d'Azur with shit-eating grins and dad accidentally shoots himself in the face with a revolver"

    No actually, I decided to go for the Land Rover Defender 130 with the optional bull bars. I was sold on the quality of construction, plenty of space, that certain presence they have on the road, plus the certain knowledge that if I do actually collide with the next BMW that cuts me up without signalling because the arsewipe driving it was yakking on the phone, his toy car will be crushed like an egg.

  98. david 63

    In some countries I've driven in...

    ...that would be a A road.

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