Australian Learner Driver Left Hacked Off Australian Learner Driver Left Hacked Off
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Australian Learner Driver Left Hacked Off After Losing Court Battle

It’s interesting what makes the news in the world of driving these days. This week, my research led me to a rather bizarre case, involving an Australian learner driver who nearly hacked off his hand with a chainsaw, before plying himself with alcohol to numb the pain and driving to the hospital.

If there’s ever an instance where you’re likely to have your theory test certificate and driving licence revoked, it’s through drink-driving. For some drivers, they land themselves in trouble before even laying hands on a theory test certificate or driving licence.

That’s the case for Australian learner driver, Timothy Withrow, of Port Willunga, Adelaide. Mr Withrow had a blood alcohol level that registered three times over the legal limit. But, it’s why he was drunk that dominated a recent court case.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that he had cut his hand severely with a chainsaw, the court was unimpressed with Mr Withrow’s actions.


Mr Withrow originally lost his case in the lower court, appealing that decision in the Supreme Court on the grounds that the circumstances of his situation were ‘trifling’ which, according to Australian motoring laws, traffic offences deemed trifling can result in a lighter sentence.

No emergency assistance

The Australian learner driver sustained the injury to his hand in February 2014 while using a chainsaw.

Mr Withrow did contact two emergency departments, but was informed that they were busy and couldn’t provide treatment for at least 10 hours.

With no emergency assistance available, he sewed up the wound using a large sewing needle and gin to sterilise it. He also consumed the gin to help with the pain. After failing to make contact with his wife, he chose to drive himself to the hospital, stating that he could not afford an ambulance.

Australian learner driver dangerous

Subsequently, the Australian learner driver was pulled over by police having failed to stop at a sign. He was charged with numerous driving offences and his theory test certificate and driving licence were immediately revoked.

Although Withrow held a full US driving licence, he did not have a valid Australian licence, categorising him as a learner.

He did plead guilty to the incident, but prior to sentencing requested that the matter be dealt with as trifling.

However, Justice Kevin Nicholson concurred with the original lower court ruling, stating that Withrow did have other more viable options than driving himself, such as calling an ambulance or taxi, or going to a neighbour for assistance.

Justice Nicholson, according to local media, said: “He posed a clear danger not only to himself but to other road users. I admire [his] courage and his tolerance to pain but I do not admire his judgment.”

Withrow is due to be sentenced at a later date.

Book Theory Test Today says: “The moral of this story from down under is that drink-driving is unacceptable, even in a medical emergency. You risk further damage to yourself and to other road users, the message is clear – don’t drink and drive.”  

Book Theory Test Today offers an intermediary service assisting clients with booking a UK theory test, or practical test, at test centres across the nation. The service also supplies resources to help you prepare for your theory test – Ready to take your theory test? Book your theory test online today…

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