A Highbridge tractor driver has been fined £485 for allowing a massive queue to build up behind him.
Crawling along at 25 miles per hour, 20-year-old farm worker Jake Fear, of Highbridge, eventually caused a tail-back of 50 vehicles as he drove along the A39 near Glastonbury last November.
His tractor, pulling a trailer, was finally pulled over by police, who spotted the half-mile-long queue, and he was charged with driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.
“The trailer contained beet which was piled high and due to the manner of driving the officer stopped Fear and asked why he hadn’t pulled over,” said prosecutor Christine Hart.
“He replied that he had only noticed the lorry behind him and he did not see the half a mile of traffic and argued that there had not been any places to pull over.”
Magistrates fined him £190 for the offence – as well as £190 for driving on a bald tyre – and ordered him to pay costs of £85 and a £20 victim surcharge. He also had three points added to his licence.
“I think it is all a bit silly. At the end of the day I was just doing my job,” said Mr Fear. “I work for a contractor driving tractors and stuff and I was on my way to a farm with a load of beet and I got pulled over.”
“They told me off for the amount of traffic that was behind me. I was just doing what I normally do. I was driving normally. They were adamant that there was a fair amount of traffic behind me, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t that much.”
Mr Fear is believed to be one of the first farmworkers in the country to be fined for the offence after police forces across the South West warned tractor drivers to pull into lay-bys more often to let cars by.
He was prosecuted under a new set of driving laws introduced in 2013. They allow police to act over inconsiderate or selfish behaviour, such as tailgating, hogging the middle lane of the motorway or deliberately splashing pedestrians by driving through puddles.