|Image by Malc McDonald|
Over the years cars have become safer, more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly. What has not improved at the same rate, however, is the quality of driving. Millions of driving offences are dealt with by the police every year but even more happen every day, unnoticed or with minimal consequences. Many people may believe that they are a ‘good driver’ and that they do not break any laws or commit any offences – while others simply do not care or don’t see what they are doing as illegal. This article looks at some of the most common driving offences committed on a daily basis in the United Kingdom. Some of the offences are obvious while others may be more of a surprise.
|Image by DeFacto|
One law that most people will be aware of, but many will still flout, is using your mobile phone while driving. It is illegal to drive while using a hand-held phone or similar device, this means that it is illegal to make a call or text from a mobile phone while driving. You can only use your phone while driving if you need to call 999 in an emergency and it is impractical to stop. This law does not directly apply to hands-free phones or sat-navs but if the police believe you are distracted and not in control you can still be penalised. You are four times more likely to crash if you are using a mobile phone while driving and your reaction time is 50% slower.
|Image by UniSouth|
Safety is key when driving and many of the laws and regulations are intended to keep people safe while they are in a car. Another common driving offence is running traffic lights, i.e. driving through a red light. This can be highly dangerous as you could effectively be driving directly into the path of a car coming from a different direction. If you are caught committing a traffic light offence it could result in a fine up to £1,000, a discretionary disqualification or 3 points on your licence. Similarly being stopped by police for not wearing a seatbelt can involve an on-the-spot fine of £60 and a maximum fine of £500 is prosecuted. Seatbelts are there to keep you safe – if you are in a crash, whether it is your fault or not, you are twice as likely to die if you are not wearing one.
|Image by Evelyn Simak|
More surprising driving offences include flashing your headlights to warn other drivers of speed traps and using your horn. If you flash your headlights to warn another car of a speed trap then you could be prosecuted for impeding a police officer in the course of their duty. Warning other drivers in this way is, however, only a crime if the police can prove the car you were warning was speeding. It is also an offence to use your horn when your car is stationary or if you are driving in a built up area between 11.30pm and 7am. You should also not sound your horn in an aggressive manner. You can even be pulled over if your number plate is too dirty or obscured and if you refuse to rectify it then you can be fined or prosecuted.
Many people will be quick to claim that they are a good driver but on closer inspection they may actually be committing minor or more serious driving offences on a regular basis. If you have been caught by the police and you need legal advice it may be useful to use the services of solicitors that specialise in motoring law and driving offences. It is important to stay safe, alert and in control when driving as you may be putting others at risk as well as yourself.