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Archive for the ‘Careless Driving’ Category

Driving Without Due Care and Attention Charge Discontinued

Cindy Morrison* approached Forrest Williams after she had been charged with driving without due care and attention following an incident in which her vehicle hit another car whilst she was reversing in a hospital car park.  Cindy explained to us at the time that she had been visiting a seriously ill relative, and that the weather had been horrendous, with torrential rain.  Although she had felt a slight ‘tap’, she had inspected both vehicles and could see no damage to either, so had continued on her way.


However, the incident had been witnessed by a hospital worker, who had made a note of Cindy’s registration plate and notified the police.


Cindy was duly approached by the police, interviewed and charged.


As she already had 9 points on her licence, she received a summons to court as the ‘totting up’ of points to (or beyond) the threshold of 12 points meant that she would automatically fall to be disqualified from driving for a period of 6 months.  As Cindy relied on her driving licence to be able to work as a Sales Executive, she had asked us for help in preparing an Exceptional Hardship application as she knew that this was the only way in which she might avoid the court’s automatic disqualification for ‘totting’.


However, on the day of the hearing, Cindy’s barrister read through the paperwork provided by the Crown Prosecution Service and spoke with the prosecutor about the charge of driving without due care and attention.  He cited case law and queried whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the prosecution, given the circumstances relating to the offence.


In an unusual move, the prosecutor reviewed Cindy’s file while in court and made the decision to discontinue the charge against her.


Cindy was delighted with this result.  Not only did this mean that she would avoid the automatic 6 month disqualification as a result of ‘totting’, but it also meant that she would be refunded a percentage of her legal fees.


Cindy gave thanks to Forrest Williams, with a special mention to the barrister who represented her at the hearing in Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.  Forrest Williams were proud to be able to inform Cindy that every barrister instructed by the company is hand-selected.  Not only do these professionals have to demonstrate excellent advocacy skills and legal knowledge, but also a dedication to client care that is second to none.


If you want further information on Careless Driving/Driving without due care got to our specialist Careless Driving page.


*Client’s name changed to protect identity.


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Driving Whilst Using A Mobile Phone To Become A Taboo


A police inspector has predicted that driving whilst using a mobile phone will become a taboo, following an announcement that the number of penalty notices given to drivers in Kent for this offence was the lowest it has been for 5 years.


Inspector Paul Sellwood said:


“I think mobile phone use will […] become taboo in time but we’ve got to keep pushing the message out.  There are still a sizeable number of motorists that will use their phones.”


The announcement revealed that a high of almost 6,000 fixed penalty fines for driving whilst using a mobile phone were handed out in 2010-2011, compared with just over 2,700 in 2012-2013.


The announcement comes at an interesting time, with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics analysing over eight million car crash incidents and all road fatalities in eight US states over a 3-year period.


Their results have shown no correlation between the number of calls being made by drivers and the number of accidents recorded, although the research only included phone calls and not text message sending or internet browsing.


Dr Vikram Pathania from the LSE has advised further study to look into the effects of mobile phone use generally whilst driving.


While it is legal to make calls using a hands-free kit, drivers should be warned that they can still be penalised if they seem to be distracted from driving because of phone use.


New Careless Driving Fines To Be Introduced This Week


Further to the Government’s announcement in June to make it easier for police to penalise lane-hogging and other minor driving behaviours, on-the-spot fines for careless driving will come into force from Friday, 16 August 2013.


The penalty will see drivers facing a £100 fine and three penalty points on their licence for a range of new offences classed as ‘careless driving’.


The plans have been criticised, however, due to a lack of publicising the specific behaviours that will be penalised.  The most widely reported has been middle-lane hogging, which has caused a lively debate, but there is little awareness of the full range of behaviours that will be considered anti-social and will now be fined.


Police will be given powers to fine motorists found tailgating, failing to give way at junctions, using wrong lanes on roundabouts  and queue jumping.


Forrest Williams conducted an online survey researching the standard to which people drive; and whether motorists felt that their driving standard was as good, better or worse than when they passed their test.  Most people admitted that they have picked up bad habits during their driving lives and make minor errors when driving that may, now, see them with a conviction for careless driving.


What is your opinion about these new fines?  Are they punishing genuine driving errors, or simply looking to ways to increase revenue through fines?


If you have been given a fixed penalty for careless driving and want to contest it call us on 01623 397200 for free and impartial advice.

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