Driver followed satnav to edge of 100ft drop
A delivery driver whose BMW was left teetering on the edge of a 100ft drop after he "slavishly" followed its satnav instructions has become one of the first motorists to be convicted for placing too much trust in the navigation gadgets.
Robert Jones, 43, drove the £30,000 car up a precarious bridal path at the direction of his Tom Tom device even though the track was "clearly unsuitable" for vehicles, a court heard.
Unsure of the route home and short of petrol, he accepted the directions of his satnav even when they led him away from the main road and up a narrow dirt track.
He pressed ahead with the steep route despite the increasingly perilous conditions, only realising his error when the silver BMW 5 Series hit a fence on the brink of a high cliff.
It took rescue crews nine hours and three quad bikes to tow the vehicle to safety.
The court heard evidence from road traffic officer PC Stephen Young, who said the situation was "humorous" yet "daunting and frightening" when he arrived at the scene after Jones called for help.
He said that the bridal path, used by dog walkers, belonged to a local farmer and added: "He told me the track was so precarious that he would not, as a general rule, take his own horses down because it was so narrow."
Over-reliance on satellite navigation systems has been blamed for causing hundreds of thousands of extra accidents on Britain's roads. More than four million satnavs have been sold in the UK alone.
Earlier this year an Iranian student was banned for driving for 20 months after following his satnav's instructions to drive along a railway line in Goole, East Yorkshire.
A 52-year-old woman who did the same at a level crossing near Eastbourne, East Sussex in 2007 escaped prosecution.
The majority of young drivers now rely almost entirely on satnavs for directions, according to a survey this week.