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14 December 2017
It is common knowledge that we shouldn’t be speeding, drink driving or running a red light. However I’m certain that many of us are committing other offences without even knowing it.
Upon a recent trip to a well-known fast food drive-thru I witnessed points 4, 6, 8 & 10 in action!
Sleeping in your car while drunk – Legally speaking you are still classed as being in charge of a car if you are inside it, asleep or awake. So think twice before you crawl inside your vehicle to sober up. If caught you can be charged with being In charge of a vehicle whilst unfit through drink (10 points on your licence).
Parking on the wrong side of the road at night - Seems odd? This is in place to prevent oncoming drivers being dazzled by your lights as you arrive or set off. If caught you can get a penalty charge notice for this motoring offence.
Letting your dog out of the car if you’ve broken down on a hard shoulder - The Highway Code states that humans only should exit their vehicle whilst waiting on the hard shoulder. But it is a different case for animals. All animals MUST be left in your car unless there is an emergency. If there is an emergency then you have to keep your animal under control on the verge. In the case of a dog, or animal that is free in your vehicle, you also have to make sure they are appropriately restrained within the vehicle.
Flashing your lights to let other drivers go – I have always deemed this as an act of kindness! However, it is actually illegal! You can flash another driver but only to signal your presence, or make them aware of you. If an accident happens then your flashing actions could leave you to blame! In the case of flashing to warn other drivers about parked police vehicles or speeding cameras – don’t do it. For this you could face more severe penalties of up to £1000 for obstructing an officer’s duty.
Using your car horn 11.30pm - 7am in a built up area – This one is a very considerate law as we all hate to be woken up by noise during the night. Just remember that this also applies if you are picking up a friend – don’t beep outside their house during the middle of the night or you could be in trouble.
Using your phone to pay at the drive thru - Mobile phone and driving laws became much stricter this year. If you use your mobile whilst in charge of your vehicle for anything you can now be fined and get 6 penalty points! Don’t forget whilst going through a drive-thru you are still in charge of your vehicle so think twice before making that contactless payment!
Driving too slowly – The Highway Code states that you must drive to the conditions of the road. But driving too slowly can become dangerous and frustrate other drivers to the point of making bad decisions and dangerous manoeuvres. You can be charged with inconsiderate driving, a hefty fine and up to 9 points.
Eating, drinking, putting on make-up or changing the song – Basically anything that distracts you from driving could result in a charge of careless driving. The current penalty for this is a fine and 3 penalty points.
Overtaking at a pedestrian crossing – This is really to protect pedestrians, as you might not be able to see them behind other cars in front of you at the crossing. Always wait until you are well clear of the crossing before you overtake.
Not having children in correct car seats - Car seat laws changed in March 2017, making old style booster seats illegal for children with a weight below 22kg and height under 125cm tall. There are lots of categories of car seat, depending on your child’s height and weight, so make sure any children under 14 are correctly seated. It is your responsibility, as the driver, to make sure this is right. Non-compliance can see you getting a £500 fine.
If anything in this article relates to you, or if you have more serious road traffic or driving offences to discuss, then please get in touch today.
Our Criminal Defence Team can be reached at any of our West Yorkshire offices on:
Wakefield – 01924 387 171
Leeds – 0113 3979550
Pontefract – 01977 790029
If you need us in an emergency, or out of hours, then call our 24 hour Criminal Defence Line – 07876 505337 to speak directly to a specialist road traffic solicitor.