Good Read Distracts Driving Doctor

Road safety campaigners say a South Canterbury doctor busted for reading while she was driving has got off far too lightly.

The 62-year-old was fined $400 after admitting she found her book just too good to put down on a trip from Timaru to Christchurch Airport.

The Timaru court heard Rosalind Allen-Narker had been reading a book as she drove at speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour on the main highway.

The book, He'll be Okay - Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men, was by former prison boss Celia Lashlie.

She says publicity is the ultimate compliment, but reading while driving defies belief.

Road safety experts say Allen-Narker's actions were clearly irresponsible.

Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson said,

"It's totally unacceptable for a member of the medical profession to set up a situation where other road users could have been very seriously hurt or killed,"

Allen-Narker was pulled over after other drivers spotted her drifting from side to side. One concerned driver told police how the doctor was driving along with the book in the middle of the steering wheel.

When she was eventually pulled over she had travelled 100 kilometres north of Timaru and still had the book in her lap. She was charged with careless driving.

In a summary of facts the court was told the doctor admitted reading the book while driving and that she had only bought it that morning.

Judge Murray Abbott said she was lucky not to face a far more serious charge.

Matthew-Wilson says if he had been the judge he would have made an example of Allen-Narker.

"How can you possibly tell 16-year-olds that they shouldn't be texting at the wheel when you get responsible members of the medical profession you know taking terrible risks with their own lives."

Driver distraction was a factor in more than 1,200 crashes last year and 31 deaths.