A not so Orthodox law of the road: 13 in a Volvo

By Craig Silver, June 27, 2008
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A strictly Orthodox man has been banned from driving after police caught him taking a spin in his family Volvo — along with 12 passengers.

Teacher Abraham Gniwosch, 31, crammed his wife, sister, two babies, another man and seven children into the saloon’s four passenger seats.

Police pulled over his Volvo S70 at Craig y Don, Llandudno, North Wales, where he and his family were on holiday. None of the passengers was wearing a seat belt.

He told Llandudno Magistrates he was forced to put the children in the car because they were afraid of a dog. He insisted he did not drive at more than 20 miles per hour.

“The kids were screaming ‘let’s get in the car,’” he said. “I’ve been silly in what I’ve done. I’m not a quick driver, I’m a slow driver.”

Mr Gniwosch, of Tottenham, North London, was banned from driving for 12 months, fined £500 with £400 costs and ordered to take an extended test.

Magistrate Sandra Walker told him: “Driving a car made for only five passengers while carrying 12 is clearly a dangerous situation.” She said this would be “obvious to a competent and careful driver”.

When approached at the family home this week, Mrs Gniwosch said: “I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It’s an old story anyway and I don’t even know why you want to bother mentioning it.”

Inspector Pete Nicholson of the Western Roads Policing unit said: “This is the worst case I have seen or heard of throughout my service. The implications could have been very serious.”

Mr Gniwosch was lucky to keep the car, as the court refused a prosecution request to confiscate it.

But he will not be able to claim any sort of record. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, squeezing 13 people into a Volvo is nothing compared to the 21 who crammed into a Mini in Madrid last year.

And 20 people squeezed into a standard Citroën 2CV in Belgium in 2004.

    Last updated: 1:16pm, June 27 2008