By Chris Elliott……..
We all will have opinions of what is dangerous driving from the experiences we have of driving in the TRNC and I will give an experience I had recently.
Now I am in a side road wanting to turn right into a major road and on my right stands a supermarket on the corner and customers had parked their cars outside it in both the side road and main road.
I had slowly starting to move my car forwards noting traffic coming from the left but of course vehicles coming from the right to a point where I am about half a meter from the white line in the centre of the road when a white BMW 4 x 4 comes at me from the right and passes in front of me on the wrong side of the road.
Apart from a dangerous manoeuvre what advantage in time did that driver gain apart from time saved by not stopping for me and if he had crashed into me or another vehicle who was at fault?
So there we have it, we all think we drive correctly but just look at the following facts which are quoted from the UK Crown Prosecution Service website click here and perhaps we should all think again.
What is ‘Dangerous driving’?
The following is:
A person drives dangerously when:
- the way they drive falls far below the minimum acceptable standard 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.
Some typical examples from court cases of dangerous driving are:
- racing, going too fast, or driving aggressively;
- ignoring traffic lights, road signs or warnings from passengers;
- overtaking dangerously;
- driving under the influence of drink or drugs, including prescription drugs;
- driving when unfit, including having an injury, being unable to see clearly, not taking prescribed drugs, or being sleepy;
- knowing the vehicle has a dangerous fault or an unsafe load;
- the driver being avoidably and dangerously distracted, for example by:
- using a hand-held phone or other equipment
- reading, or looking at a map
- talking to and looking at a passenger
- lighting a cigarette, changing a CD or tape, tuning the radio.
What is ‘Careless or inconsiderate driving’?
A person drives carelessly or inconsiderately when the way they drive falls below the minimum acceptable standard expected of a competent and careful driver.
Some examples of careless driving are:
- overtaking on the inside;
- driving too close to another vehicle;
- driving through a red light by mistake;
- turning into the path of another vehicle;
- the driver being avoidably distracted by tuning the radio, lighting a cigarette etc.
Examples of inconsiderate driving include:
- flashing lights to force other drivers to give way;
- misusing lanes to gain advantage over other drivers;
- unnecessarily staying in an overtaking lane;
- unnecessarily slow driving or braking;
- dazzling other drivers with un-dipped headlights.
What other driving offences apply in cases involving death?
Other driving offences causing death include:
- causing death by driving when unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured;
- wanton and furious driving – this old offence is used when traffic laws don’t apply. For example, when not on a road or public place, or when the vehicle is not motorised.
How heavy are the penalties?
The penalties depend on which of the following offences may have been committed:
- Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs (Section 3A Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988)
Penalty: 1 to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both; and disqualified for a minimum of two years;
- Causing death by dangerous driving (Section 1 RTA 1988)
Penalty: 1 to 14 years in prison, and disqualified for a minimum of two years;
- Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving (Section 20 Road Safety Act 2006)
Penalty: Up to 5 years in prison, and disqualified for a minimum of one year;
- Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified, uninsured drivers (Section 21, Road Safety Act 2006)
Penalty: Up to 2 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both; and disqualified for a minimum of one year;
- Murder or manslaughter
Penalty: Up to life-imprisonment, and disqualified for a minimum of two years.
Stop Dangerous Driving in the TRNC!