Police have previously stopped a motorist for driving a car with its front tyre completely missing. There was no front panel on the driver’s side, with what appeared to be leads or cables trailing along the road behind it.
Officers stopped the vehicle in Pembrokeshire, and it was confirmed that the vehicle had no insurance and that its MOT had also expired, possibly making it one of the most illegal vehicles on the road!
Dyfed-Powys Roads Policing Unit said the driver had a valid driving licence and confirmed that “…yes, it was being driven in that condition on public roads”.
Everyone is aware of the offence of dangerous driving, however, but not all motorists are familiar with exactly what constitutes the offence.
The Offence of Dangerous Driving Driving is defined in the Road Traffic Act 1988, which states that a driver 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.
This part of the Act specifically relates to the manner of driving, and examples of driving that is dangerous is a car racing on public roads or carrying out dangerous manoeuvres. The threshold for dangerous driving is very high and the offence is much more serious than that of careless driving, which is viewed in a similar, fact-based manner.
The Act goes on to say, however, that dangerous driving also exists in instances when it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that the vehicle in its current state would be deemed to be dangerous.
This gives the offence a different angle, as the standard of driving could be perfect, but if the vehicle is in a condition that is considered dangerous, then they face the same charges and significant penalties as someone that is speed racing around a residential estate.
The Penalty for Dangerous Driving is one of the most serious allegations a motorist can face, and unlike most road traffic offences, dangerous driving is classed as an “either-way” offence. This means that the case can be heard in either the Magistrates or Crown Court, depending on how serious the circumstances are, and the respective powers of sentencing in each court differs greatly.
The more serious cases will be escalated to the Crown Court, which has greater powers, and the maximum penalty is up to two years in prison. If it is decided that the case should remain in the magistrates’ court, then the maximum penalty the court can impose is 12 months imprisonment and a two-year disqualification. This decision is not always in the hands of the accused, however, the venue is hugely significant due to the disparity in the sentencing powers of each of the courts in question.
Dangerous driving also results in the court ordering an extended re-test before being able to drive again. Unlike in cases of drink driving, for example, where the motorist can drive upon expiration of the disqualification, dangerous drivers are required to undergo an extensive driving test before their driving privileges are reinstated. There are also ongoing talks for penalties for this offence to be increased significantly, particularly if the poor driving results in a fatality.
Motoring Defence Solicitors are road traffic lawyers specialising in drink and drug driving offences. Based out of their central London offices, they provide free advice on a range of offences to motorists nationwide. You can contact Neil Sargeant for free on 0800 433 2880 or visit the website at www.drinkdrugdriving.co.uk.