Lorry driver fined and banned for blocking Forth Road Bridge

The bridge was blocked for 19 hours
The bridge was blocked for 19 hours

The driver of the lorry which overturned on the Forth Road Bridge in January’s gales has been banned for two years, told to resit his test and fined £1000.

Aleksander Niemiec, 55, appeared before Sheriff Kenneth Maciver QC at Edinburgh Sheriff Court with a Polish interpreter.

His solicitor Gordon Stewart said his client, from Macclesfield, was pleading guilty to dangerous driving on January 11 this year by failing to comply with signs warning that the bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles.

Once on the crossing, Niemiec overturned, damaging the bridge and his vehicle, and injuring himself. The bridge was closed for 19 hours.

Fiscal Depute Peter Motion said the incident occurred about 2am and damaged 14 metres of the metal railing on the central carriageway. Niemiec, he added, had suffered injuries to his head and hands.

Mr Stewart said his client had been in this country for nine years and been driving for 35 years, mostly as a lorry driver.

He had a clean licence and no previous convictions, but since the incident had lost his job and was now living on small savings.

Sheriff Maciver told Niemiec: “This was a wilful disregard for the road signs. The consequences were considerable. The bridge was closed for a long time and it is a major artery for road traffic in Scotland.

“It caused major diversions for many hundreds, if not thousands of vehicles, and inconvenience because of your stupidity.”