BMW Driver Alert: Your GPS Does Not Substitute For Common Sense

September 22, 2009

It's not that we don't love BMWs; we do. It's just that their drivers are so easy to make fun of sometimes.

Take one Robert Jones, a British driver whose trust in his TomTom satellite navigation system led him to follow its directions down an increasingly narrow, rutted and precarious path in Tormorden, West Yorkshire, last March.

Until he got stuck against a fence that was the only thing keeping his BMW 5-Series from plummeting over a 100-foot cliff.

A British court convicted Jones of "driving without due care and attention"--in other words, sheer stupidity. As the Daily Mail puts it with characteristic British understatement, "he is thought to be the first person punished for slavishly following a satnav's orders."

The kicker? The 43-year-old Jones transports cars for a living. Yes, he's a professional driver, who claims to drive 5,000 miles a week. (We're skeptical; he'd have to average 10 hours at the wheel, five days a week, at 100 mph. We suspect he meant 5,000 miles a month.)

The rescue operation took nine hours, and involved a tractor and three all-terrain vehicles. Jones had to pay penalties, fees, and rescue costs of roughly $3,000, and got six points on his license.

Jones claimed was he was desperate to find a gas station because the car's fuel gauge showed he had only 7 miles of range left after visiting friends. For reference, a local farmer said he wouldn't even take his horses down the path Jones followed for two miles.

Uh, professional driver? Oh, dear.

[Daily Mail via Cnet]

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