What Constitutes Careless Driving?

I had a run in with a driver a few weeks ago. I was minding my own business in a cycle lane, when all of a sudden I had a car almost touching me and forcing me to take action to avoid a collision. The clip was forwarded to RoadSafe who forwarded it to my local traffic unit for the potential for prosecution.

According to the Road Traffic Act, Careless Driving is

A person is to be regarded as driving without due care and attention if (and only if) the way he drives falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.

I would say that driving is well below par of a competent or careful driver. The driver came only inches away from hitting my handle bars with her wing mirror and encroached into the cycle lane whilst I was using it.

I was informed yesterday that the police would not be taking matters any further. At this moment in time I am unsure why, I have asked them if they can let me know their choices behind not taking this further considering the evidence.

Lillian’s Law

Back in 2010 on the 26th of June, young Lillian Groves was hit by a car and unfortunately died later in hospital. The police found cannabis in the driver’s blood and a half smoked joint on the dashboard but the driver was only sentenced to 8 months in prison due to the driver only being tested for drugs 9 hours after the incident, at which point the levels of drugs in his system was not enough to prosecute under causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs.

Backed by the Croydon Advertiser, Lillian’s parents are calling for the government to change the law and procedures which deal with drivers under the influence of drugs.

It would include rolling out a drug test kit which can be used in the field. This is to attempt to catch and prevent drug using road users, who are involved in as many as 1 out 5 road deaths. These test kits are already widely used in Australia and United States of America.

Read more and sign the petition >

FPN for Careless Driving

Yesterday it was announced that there is a plan to allow police to issue on the Fixed Penalty Fines (FPN) to road users who driver dangerously, carelessly and inconsiderately.

The fines will be issued for doing such things as tailgating, undertaking and cutting up other road users. They are certainly welcomed but will they have an effect on how people behave whilst surrounded by metal?

It seems that the fines are here to make the roads safer in the UK and to force drivers to act better on the roads. Another angle is that the fines will skip the process with the CPS, which means it’s relatively fast and the paperwork is minimal in comparison. This means it’s a pull you over, ticket you, on your way kind of job rather than lots of desk work filling out forms for all involved. Basically dealt in the same way as speeding tickets.

At present there are minimal amounts of police on the roads. As I’ve mentioned before the roads are essential un-policed and we are in this current situation because drivers are not being fined, cautioned or warned about what they are doing wrong and thus it becomes an everyday part of their driving.

As Roger Geffen, the CTC Campaigns and Policy Director said:

A careless driving fixed penalty notice is welcome, but should only be used where no injury has occurred and the driving is demonstrably careless, not dangerous. We have concerns that too often driving which is objectively dangerous is treated by police and prosecutors as merely ‘careless’.

He raises a good point that dangerous driving is often toned down. Is this just because we are used to it?
I often get comments on my videos that go something like this:

Close passes are a part of cycling, live with it

Just because it’s something we are currently ‘used’ to, doesn’t mean we should put up with it. Passing a cyclist too closely can be very dangerous and is something that is hardly ever addressed!

Unfortunately there are planned cuts in the police force, which is only going to mean even less police officers on the roads.  Looking at the laws relating to mobile phone use whilst in a vehicle which was introduced in 2003, the number of drivers which still talk away whilst driving is not getting any lower. Clearly the message is not getting through and the drivers know there is little chance they will be caught! Is this just going to go down the same road?

On a good note, a lot of clips of bad driving were shown today on the news. And as the list of cyclists that use cameras gets longer, so does the footage of bad and inconsiderate driving.

We need to continue to highlight the issues we are having on the road with dangerous and inconsiderate drivers. So far this year we have had large amounts of media coverage and things can only get bigger!

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