Taxi driver asleep at wheel

A TAXI driver who dozed off at the wheel and crashed into a lamppost at Sumburgh Airport has been banned from the road and is set to lose her job.

Vanessa Johnston, of St Magnus Street, Lerwick, previously admitted to driving dangerously at the airport on 1 July by falling asleep and causing damage to the lamppost following the collision.


Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday that the 54 year old did not sustain any injuries in the incident.

However, there was a large amount of scaffolding near the lamppost, which could have been “very significant” if she drove into it.

Mackenzie added that Johnston had been on night shift for three years before moving to days, and with her body clock confused she woke up at 4am and failed to get back to sleep.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said his client was “relieved” that no one else was hurt in the incident.


Johnston had opened her windows and turned up the volume of music in her car in a bid to stave off the tiredness.

Allan added that the woman had thought she had pleaded guilty to careless driving and not dangerous driving, but he said the plea could not be withdrawn.

Sheriff Philip Mann ruled that the 54 year old “knew she was tired even before she set off” and should have thought twice about taking to the wheel.

He banned her from the road for the minimum one year and fined her £400, with Johnston told she will have to sit an extended driving test before getting a licence again.