Man drove on motorway while reading newspaper

Naeem Khalid
Naeem Khalid

Police driving along the M90 in Fife saw the driver heading along the motorway at 50mph reading his newspaper.

Charity boss Naeem Khalid had the newspaper propped up on his steering wheel and failed to spot the police vehicle.

As officers tried to attract his attention, Khalid finally saw them, threw the paper on the floor and drove on.

Khalid, who was driving to work in Kirkcaldy, was pulled over shortly afterwards leading to a trial at Dunfermline Sheriff Court. He admitted reading the paper as he drove but denied it amounted to dangerous driving.

Khalid (52), of Grange Park, Dunfermline, is co-ordinator with FRAE (Fairness, Race Awareness and Equality) Fife charity, working with police, council officers and the Scottish Government to promote racial equality.

Khalid denied that on December 15 last year on the M90 he drove a car dangerously, by failing to maintain a proper look-out, failed to maintain proper control and drove while reading a newspaper over the steering wheel.

PC William McAndrew (46), told the court he and his colleague, who were travelling north, came across Khalid at around 10.10am.

“As we began to pass it I could clearly see the gentleman was reading a newspaper on the steering wheel. He was reading the front page,” said PC McAndrew.

“We were trying to get his attention. When he noticed us, he threw the newspaper down.”

PC Barry Steele (43), said he was driving the police vehicle at around 65/70 mph and the road was almost deserted. He followed behind Khalid’s Toyota before pulling out to overtake it.

“I could immediately see the driver had The Sun newspaper up on the steering wheel,” he said.

Both officers said the road was quieter than usual because of the closure of the Forth Road Bridge.

Khalid told the court he had left home at 9.55am and bought the newspaper at a petrol station.

He put the newspaper on the passenger’s seat and continued his journey to work in Kirkcaldy. However, as he drove on the motorway he said his attention was drawn to a story on the front of the newspaper.

“I was driving along and saw the headline. Sadly, I admit I picked up the paper. I work in race equality and the story was about a witness wearing a niqab. It happened at this court.

“I wholeheartedly regret it. It was a silly mistake.”

Dev Kapadia, depute fiscal, put it to Khalid that he he was not aware of the traffic on the road as he failed to see the police car.

Khalid claimed he had “100 per cent control” over the vehicle, but admitted putting the paper on the steering wheel and reading it for “ten to 15 seconds”.

Mr Freeman asked the sheriff to find his client guilty of careless driving instead of dangerous driving saying, “It was an aberration on his part.”

Sheriff Charles Macnair told Khalid, “This was extremely poor driving. The idea that anybody can drive along a motorway reading a newspaper is fairly mindboggling.

“However, apart from the police officers you didn’t notice, there were no other vehicles on the road.”

He found Khalid guilty of the lesser offence of careless driving and fined him £900, imposing nine penalty points on his licence.