Fine and disqualification for dangerous driving guilty plea

A Collie woman has been fined $1000 and disqualified from driving for three months after pleading guilty to an incident where her passenger was caught by dash cam footage hanging out the window of the vehicle.

Danielle Joy Aris pleaded guilty to one charge of dangerous driving in the Collie Magistrates Court on Wednesday, August 22.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Greg Ward told the court Aris had been travelling through Worsley on the Coalfields Highway at 4.35pm on April 18 when the passenger of the vehicle leaned out of the window and continued to travel with just her legs remaining inside the vehicle.

Sergeant Ward said the woman had been caught ‘hanging out of the car’ by another motorist’s dash cam footage on three separate occasions.

He also said the vehicle was travelling between 100km/h and 110km/h at the time of the incidents and that the vehicle had overtaken another car while this was taking place.

Aris’ lawyer Derek Hunter said the 22-year-old had not expected her passenger would climb out of the window and that she had been trying to make her stop.

Mr Hunter said Aris had travelled to Bunbury to pick up her friend, who was intoxicated and dealing with a break-up, to drive her back home to Collie.

He said they had reached Worsley before the passenger had ‘unexpectedly’ climbed out the window before Aris was able to convince her back into the vehicle.

He said Aris had not expected her friend to then climb out the window another two times during the trip.

Mr Hunter said Aris had admitted she should have pulled over and stopped the vehicle when the incident occurred, but that she didn’t want to leave her friend in ‘the middle of nowhere’ with no way to get home.

He also said Aris had her three-year-old son in the backseat of the car and wanted to get him home as soon as possible as he was distressed by the incident.

In making his decision, Magistrate Evan Shackleton took into consideration the fact that Aris was the parent of two young children and needed to be able to drive.

He also took into the consideration the fact Aris wasn’t a willing participant in the action but said she ‘ought to have stopped’ and by continuing to drive, had put her friend in a ‘dangerous position’.

In ordering the $1000 fine and three-month disqualification, Mr Shackleton said Aris’ previous history of traffic offences showed the ‘consequences of driving hadn’t dawned on [her] yet’.

The 19-year-old passenger had previously been fined $1000 when she was found guilty of travelling with her body protruding the vehicle and not wearing a seatbelt in July.