Mum BANNED from driving after son is filmed riding on roof rack
By Frances Sheen
March 05 2019
An Aussie mum who drove at up to 100kmh with her four-year-old son clinging on to the roof rack of her car has been fined and disqualified from driving.
Erica Shadforth pleaded guilty at Armadale Magistrates Court to charges of driving dangerously and failing to ensure that a child was properly restrained when she was spotted driving at high speeds on suburban roads.
The mother-of-six was charged in January after other motorists saw the boy on top of the car as she drove along.
The court was told Shadforth was driving to her friend's house and she had put her son into the car but then popped back inside the house.
When she came back out to the car, she assumed the little boy had jumped into the rear seats where two of her other children — a two-year-old girl and a two-month-old boy — were strapped into their child restraints.
The court heard she drove for about 18 minutes with the boy hanging on to the roof rack, and did not pay attention to other motorists who desperately tried to get her attention.
Some witnesses had described seeing the boy losing his grip and coming out of the roof rack, before Shadforth stopped at an intersection where she put the boy in the car unrestrained.
Her lawyer, Andy Matthews, said the case as highly unusual because the mum was looking after her six children by herself, as her husband was working in Broome, where his family also live.
He said Shadforth was "completely unaware" the child was on the roof but she had now taken steps to ensure a similar situation did not happen again.
"The boy will be put in the rear of the wagon where he does not have access to exit points," he said.
But the magistrate described her offences as "just mind-boggling".
"Seeing something like a four-year-old sitting on top of a vehicle is probably something that will stick in your memory for a long time," he said.
"It's not suggested that it was an act of ill will or recklessness, but I suggest it is carelessness in the extreme.
He fined her $1,200, and banned her from driving for 3 months because of the seriousness of the offences.
Erica Shadforth made no comment to reporters as she left court.