Australian mum fined for driving with child on roof rack

An Australian mother has been fined AU$1200 (NZ$1250) for driving at speeds of up to 100km/h with her son sitting on the roof of her car.

Erica Shadforth pleaded guilty to charges of driving dangerously and failing to ensure a child was properly restrained on Tuesday, Australia's ABC reports.

Video of the incident shows the four-year-old sitting on top of the vehicle as it drives around Perth, including on a highway where speed limits range from 80-100km/h.

Shadforth claimed she had put the child in the driver's seat and he crawled out while the children were in the vehicle unsupervised.

She assumed the boy had climbed into the back seat while she was out, but he had actually gotten onto the roof.

The car travelled 13 kilometres in 18 minutes with the boy on the roof rack before Shadforth stopped at an intersection and put the boy back in the car unrestrained.

Police caught up with Shadforth at a service station, reports.

Shadforth's defence claimed she was overwhelmed at the time of the incident as she was caring for her six children while her husband was away working.

She has now taken steps to ensure the boy wouldn't get onto the roof again.

"The boy will be put in the rear of the wagon where he does not have access to exit points," Shadforth's lawyer Andy Matthews said.

Magistrate Steven Malley accepted the incident was out of character, but called the offence "mind-boggling".

"When you leave young children in the car, you come back and count heads... they are children who do unusual things," he said.

"The fact to some extent that he was not injured is obviously a positive."

Shadforth was banned from driving for three months because of the offence, along with the $1200 fine.

Magistrate Malley said the penalty was necessary to send a message to Shadforth and others to show care when they're on the roads.


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