Q I was recently driving along the M40 motorway in light traffic and carefully entered lane three to overtake a lorry in lane one, and a vehicle travelling at around 65mph in lane two. I had my cruise control set at an indicated 73mph and noticed a car fly up behind me and start flashing its lights. I didnít want to speed, so kept going, and didnít want to pull back into lane two very suddenly, so was waiting until I had got far enough ahead. In the meantime, the driver behind me swerved into lane two, accelerated, pulled in front of my vehicle in lane three and then slammed on his brakes, bringing us both to a halt as traffic careered by. I can honestly say I was terrified, and after holding down my horn, he then sped off at great speed. If I had got his number plate would the police have been able to do anything? In fact I wasnít able to, but it would nice to know for the future.
A Yes, the police could prosecute this idiot for either driving without consideration for other road users, driving without due care and attention or even dangerous driving. A person is to be regarded as driving dangerously if the way he drives falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.
The police would need to consider whether your evidence on its own would be sufficient to convict, as it may well be that the other driver would deny your allegations and possibly offer a different story. If there are no other witnesses, such as someone else travelling in your car, they may feel they have insufficient evidence, but they might check motorway cameras to see if the incident was picked up there. Action would need to follow swiftly, as a notice of intended prosecution must be served on the other driver within 14 days of the offence. Dangerous driving can carry much more severe penalties than the other two offences mentioned above, including a custodial sentence.
Designed by solicitors, tested by barristers and available around the clock, Road Traffic Representation is an online legal system that allows people accused of a motoring offence to get free advice on how the law will be applied in their case, and referral to a telephone helpline and representation by a barrister in court if required. Practising solicitor Martin Langan spent two years designing the system and creating the data repository which allows the software to analyse road traffic offences with the same authority as a solicitor.