Myth Busting: Common Laws or Facts - are they true or not?
Posted on 13th February 2020
Some driving laws or facts are well known and clear cut, such as if you get caught driving at 40 miles per hour in a 30 limit, you are committing an offence and you will likely get a fine, points on your licence or, at the very least, the pleasure of paying for a Speed Awareness Course. Others are less well known and indeed some are myth, in that some 'facts' that many people believe to be offences, are actually subjective, depending on the interpretation of the Police Officer and later the Magistrate who passes Judgement, if needed.
It is not, surprisingly, an offence to eat or drink whilst at the wheel of a car. However, if a Police Officer believes that your driving, or your concentration, is adversely affected by the food or drink you are consuming, they are entitled to pull you over and give words or advice or, should they believe it appropriate, caution you and look to charge you with an offence such as Driving without Due Care and Attention, particularly if some kind of collision has occurred involving your vehicle. It is, in the Highway Code, advised against to eat or drink, but it is not specifically legislated against. Although, our Personal Injury Solicitors team in Lancaster would recommend that you be sure to keep up to date on the Laws governing this as, sooner or later, it will likely be made illegal to do so.
Many parents tell their children not to turn on interior lights in the vehicle because it is “illegal”. This is another myth and again, as with eating or drinking, is discretionary as to whether any Police Officer deemed the light to be a distraction to your driving, particularly at night. The same applies for drinking alcohol in the vehicle: whilst the driver may not do so, passengers are allowed to drink alcohol (unless you’re supervising a learner driver) within the vehicle, provided that their behaviour is not a distraction to the driver.
Speed cameras are another thing that many people believe work on set rules, such as “flash=speeding fine in the post”. As technology develops, many cameras no longer have a flash bulb, and instead utilise infra-red to determine your speed. The myth that all speed cameras have a “10%+2mph” tolerance is also inaccurate. Some Police Forces have confirmed that this is the tolerance of their cameras, thus meaning you may not be “caught” if you pass through a 30mph camera at 35mph, however, other Forces have confirmed a slightly higher tolerance, with other Forces denying that there is any tolerance at all! This means that passing through certain cameras, even at just 1mph above the speed limit, could potentially result in a Notice of Intended Prosecution in the post.
As with any type of driving offence it is, of course, up to the discretion of the officer in the situation as to how they approach any criminal aspect. However, some of these offences, even if not prosecuted, can lead to an impact on any civil dispute you might have following an incident in your car. This is why MG Legal, your local personal injury solicitor, recommends that you take no chances when driving your car and pay full attention to the road and other road users at all times.
There does not need to be a criminal offence committed for a Road Traffic Accident to occur and indeed, the vast majority of collisions between motor vehicles are of no interest to the police and are treated as civil matters. In other words, it is for the parties involved and their insurance companies to sort out blame, damage and recovery of losses and damages.
In the event that you are involved in a Road Traffic Accident, or any other type of incident where you have sustained injury, please do not hesitate to contact MG Legal, your local personal injury solicitor, to discuss how we can help you today. We have offices in Garstang, Lancaster and Longridge and we are happy to hear from you by phone, email, web-contact form or in person, by calling into one of our offices.
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