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Supervising Learner Drivers – The Rules!

 

Supervising Learner Drivers – The Rules!

 

Are you aware that technically you are liable to the same rules and regulations (and therefore penalties) as the supervisor of a Learner as you would be if you were the driver yourself? That you could potentially risk fines, penalty points, disqualification or even prison if you are found guilty of an offence while supervising learner drivers?

 

Most people are aware of the fact that you have to have held a licence for more than 3 years and be over 21 in order to be the ’responsible adult’ in the vehicle but did you know that it is your responsibility as the supervisor to ensure that:

 

  • the learner holds a provisional licence
  • there is insurance covering the learner in the car being driven
  • that the vehicle is in a safe and roadworthy condition
  • the vehicle is clearly displaying ‘L’ plates on the back and front of the vehicle

 

And these rules still apply even if the vehicle is owned by the learner. Some Insurance policies will require the supervisor to be over a certain age too – sometimes over 25 or even 30!

 

Additionally you could be found guilty of an offence if you commit any of the following whilst supervising learner drivers:

 

  • are over the drink-drive limit
  • speak (handheld) on your mobile or text
  • fall asleep
  • fail to wear glasses, if you need these when driving yourself

 

Even the seemingly ‘simple’ parts – 3 years and a full licence – can be misunderstood. The 3 years applies to the total time you have held your full licence, so if you received your licence 01/01/2010 you might think that by 01/01/2013 you have held it for three years, but if you were disqualified for any reason during this time, even if your licence was returned at the end of the disqualification period, then this period does not count towards the time and must be added on – so a 6 month disqualification would mean you are not eligible to be the supervising driver until a further six months had elapsed.

 

And the full licence must be for the type of vehicle being supervised (ie if you took your test in an automatic car you cannot now supervise a learner in a manual) and must be either a full UK or EU licence – so a provisional driver could not be supervised by an American driving on an International Licence for example.

 

If you have a legal matter and need advice give the Forrest Williams Team a call. If you want your case handled by a firm who pride themselves on customer care, who will listen to you, your needs and your views, understanding that it is your case, then trust the Forrest Williams team and give us call on 0800 1933 999.

 

New Car Seat Laws In The UK

Helen Newman of Forrest Williams

Helen Newman of Forrest Williams

Are you Seatbelt Savvy?

 

Hi, I’m Helen. I’m a paralegal. I’m a Mum of two. And generally I like to think of myself as fairly law abiding. Until recently that is. When I realised that I had potentially been breaking the law with my choice of car seat for my 12 month old son.

 

Do you know about the new car seat laws in the UK?

 

Anyone with children will know that they like to change the guidance on well, pretty much everything! Wean them at 3 months/4 months/6 months… put them down to sleep on their front/on their back…  It’s a minefield of advice and confusion and just general murkiness. I always worked on do what is best for you. With my daughter I followed everything they told me religiously, went to all the classes going, read everything they gave me, and now with my second child, I’m much more relaxed. I mean my daughter has made it to 5 and is fit and healthy so I can’t have done anything too terrible! I’ve just been following the guidance I was given with her and adapting it to meet the needs of my son.

 

Not once did I realise that there were new EU safety Regulations on child car seats. Not once did I think to check if my car seat was weight based or height based – I mean who knows the difference?! I was shocked when I realised that it had changed so I had a chat with a few of my mummy-friends and can honestly say that not one of them knew about the changes.

 

The penalty for not using a seatbelt, or using the incorrect seatbelt is a fine of up to £500. As a basic rule if there is a seat belt then you must use it. Reading through the guidance there are exceptions but for me my priority is the Child-Seatbelt section.

 

So here it is, my advice and guidance to you – taken directly from the gov.uk website in the hopes that you won’t get caught out by this:

 

  • Children must normally use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.
  • Only EU-approved child car seats can be used in the UK. These have a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle.

Seats, as reported above, can be Height based or Weight based – and this is where I believe parents could, very innocently and unintentionally, fall foul of the law.

 

Height-based car seats

 

Height-based car seats are known as ‘i-Size’ seats. They must be rear-facing until your child is over 15 months old. Your child can use a forward-facing car seat when they’re over 15 months old.

 

Your child’s weight does not matter in a car seat of this type.

 

Weight-based car seats

 

Weight-based car seats must be rear-facing until your child weighs more than 9kg. Which seat they use after then will depend on their weight.

 

Child’s weight   Type of Car seat

9kg to 18kg         Rear or forward-facing baby seat

15kg to 25kg       Rear or forward-facing child seat (booster seat)

Over 22kg            Booster cushion

 

So as you can see, height doesn’t come into it at all!

 

There are few exceptions where a child can travel without a car seat:

 

  • In a licensed taxi or minicab children under 3 years of age can travel without a child’s car seat or seat belt, but only on the back seat while children aged 3 years or older can travel without a child’s car seat if they wear an adult seat belt.
  • In a private car if it is an unexpected, necessary and short (all of which to me seem very subjective) journey, then a child over 3 years of age can use an adult seat belt but you can’t take children under 3 in a vehicle without a seat belt or the correct child car seat (except a taxi or minicab).
  • If there is no room for a third child seat then children over 3 years can sit in the back using an adult belt. If the child is under 3 then they must be in a child car seat. If there’s no room for a third child seat in the back of the vehicle, the child must travel in the front seat with the correct child seat (remembering to switch the airbags off if necessary).
  • If the vehicle does not have seat belts a child over 3 can travel in a back seat without a car seat and without a seat belt if the vehicle doesn’t have one. But children under 3 must be in a child car seat. If there’s no seat belt, they can’t travel.

 

If you are unsure about the type of car seat you have then any of the major suppliers should be able to help you – generally I have been informed that the new Height Based ones are clearly marked with an ‘I’ on them and will have been a recent purchase (probably post July 2013 when the new regulations came into effect).

Motoring Law News: Traffic Volume Statistics

Traffic Volume (Department for Transport, February 2015)

 

Road traffic statistics recently released by the Department for Transport cover the period 1949 to 2014.

 

As would be expected over this broad, 65 year period, the figure for the total number of vehicles has risen from 28.9 billion vehicle miles in 1949, to 310.2 billion vehicle miles in 2014.

 

However, although the figures for cars and taxis has risen year after year (from an initial 12.6 billion vehicle miles in 1949, to 243.7 billion vehicle miles in 2014), not all classes of vehicles have seen a steadily rising total over time.

 

For example, the vehicle miles of motorcycles peaked at 6.2 billion in 1960, but has most recently fallen to less than 3 billion.

 

In a related Department of Transport survey, traffic volume is presented by road class in figures which date back to 1993.

 

These figures indicate that vehicle miles have increased across all urban and rural major and minor roads in Great Britain during the 21 years in which these statistics were collected – from 256.2 billion in 1993 to 310.2 billion in 2014.

 

The greatest increase in vehicle miles is on our major roads, an increase of some 43.10 billion.

 

So, in summary, the official statistics support our common perception that the roads on which we drive and ride are busier generally. The type of vehicles on our roads may change over time, but the trend is firmly towards more and more vehicle miles, on all types of roads.

 

As motorists, we would do well to heed this information and take extra care when making our many journeys on today’s busy roads.

 

If you are being charged with a motoring offence, call us now for expert motoring law advice on 01623 600645.  Our specialist team are ready to assist.

 

 

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