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Bulgarian lorry driver fell asleep at the wheel.

A bulgarian lorry driver has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving after falling asleep at the wheel in broad daylight. A van driver crashed into a wall to avoid Yumer Arif's articulated lorry as it loomed towards him on the wrong side of the busy A5 in North Wales, a court heard yesterday. The incident has reinforced concerns about exhausted foreign drivers flouting driving rules, as they head towards Holyhead to catch the Irish ferry.

Arif, 40, and his co-driver had worked 15 days without a required weekly rest period. And on a journey between Brussels and Holyhead had taken turns at the wheel without the minimum daily rest.

Arif pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at a special weekend court at Llandudno and was remanded in custody until today for a pre-sentence report.

Gareth Parry, prosecuting, said the near-miss happened at Glasfryn, south of Betws-y- Coed, at 11.40am on Friday. The van driver, Robin Hall, had to brake heavily to avoid a collision when he saw the articulated lorry looming towards him on the wrong side of the road. His van was badly damaged when he veered into a dry-stone wall to avoid it.

"At the last moment the lorry had swerved to the correct lane, narrowly missing Mr Hall's van," said Mr Parry. "The lorry continued along the A5."

Arif was arrested when he reached Holyhead port at 1pm for the ferry to Ireland, and the tachograph was examined. Mr Parry added, "He admitted falling asleep at the wheel and on waking said he suddenly saw the van driving towards him in the opposite direction.

"He realised he had veered into the oncoming van's path and steered to the correct side of the road to avoid a collision.

"He said he wasn't aware that a collision had occurred involving the van. He said he had been driving for three hours prior to the incident and was familiar with driving on roads in the UK."

Defence solicitor Megan Lovelady agreed it was "a very serious offence and the potential risk to others was immense."

She added, "I accept Mr Arif will be sentenced to a custodial sentence, it's a matter of how long."

Magistrates remanded him in custody and Arif will appear at Prestatyn court today. An interpreter explained the proceedings.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 19, 2007
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