Category: Road Traffic Law

Mobile Phones… again

Driving and using a mobile phone is a topic that keeps on cropping up. It really is an issue that taxes motorists and causes them much anxiety, especially as the police seem to be increasing their vigilance now that the penalties have been increased in the light of recent notorious cases where road users have tragically died. Read More

Mobile Phones… again
Fraudsters on the Road

Fraudsters on the Road

‘Crash For Cash’ (CFC) scams are officially defined by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) as a scam that aims to “stage or deliberately cause a road traffic collision solely for the purpose of financial gain. Crash For Cash scams are a very serious and widespread issue in the UK. It’s estimated the scams cost motorists around £340 million a year, and over the years these CFC scams have become more and more sophisticated.  It’s bad enough having to be alert to email and internet scams all the time without having to dodge criminals on the roads too but that is the world we now live in.

There are numerous criminal gangs staging road traffic accidents and the following (potentially very dangerous) methods are just a few examples of the ways in which the average driver can be swindled:

Waving
Most commonly happens when there’s a lot of traffic. The other driver waves for you to merge into their lane. As you join it, the car speeds up and collides with your vehicle. The other driver will then deny offering you the right of way and will assert that you were at fault for ‘cutting them up’.

Swooping and squatting
This scam requires two fraudsters. As you’re driving along, a car will pull out on the driver in front, forcing them to brake suddenly. Even if you’re moving at a slow speed there’s still a high risk of a collision. The car that pulled out in front will be the ‘swoop’ and they will leave the scene quickly. The car in front of you will be the ‘squat’ and is likely to be filled with passengers that all claim injury if you have the misfortune to run into the back of them.  You can practically see the pound signs in their eyes!

Flashing
Also called ‘flash for cash’. When trying to pull out of a junction, a driver will ‘flash’ their lights indicating that he/she is letting you out. As you pull out, the driver will accelerate and crash into you. As you’re pulling into a lane of oncoming traffic, you’re at fault.  How you deal with the aftermath of such a collision is critical to a good outcome for you and your insurance company.

Slamming on
The fraudster will disconnect their brake lights (a brazen act of illegality) and then slam them on for no apparent reason. You won’t realise until it’s too late and a collision has occurred.  Of course, he or she will blame you for not maintaining an adequate distance but brake lights are fitted for a very good reason, to warn other motorists, and you would be a victim in such circumstances.

To protect yourself from these types of frauds, remember to always keep a safe braking distance from the vehicle in front of you and drive responsibly. If you’re unsure of another driver’s signalling to you be very cautious; protect yourself always.

If you do get involved in a suspicious road traffic accident take your time and make sure you have as many details as possible of the driver and passengers, and any witnesses at the scene.  If possible, take multiple pictures of the damage to both vehicles, the general layout of the road, and some of the driver and any passengers might not be a bad thing either.  Not letting anyone drive off until you have all the details might make them think twice about pursuing a dodgy claim anyway.  If you are suspicious that you’re being set up as the target of a fraudster, do not for a second hesitate to contact the police to attend the scene.

If you believe you’ve become victim of “crash for cash” fraudsters contact Michael McGhie today on 01202 877400 or via his email michaelmcghie@newnham-jordan.co.uk!

Drink Driving and the Festive Season

It’s December again.  The season of good cheer for most and the opportunity to get together with friends and family and have a good time.

Sadly, it’s also the time of year when the Government runs a fresh and usually extremely brutal new anti-drink drive TV campaign and it tends to be a time of year when people get caught for drink driving – with many bad consequences for themselves, and possibly for others.

However, it’s not all bad news.  An examination of the statistics for the most recent year available [2016] shows us that there are fewer drink drivers than ten years ago.

In 2016, 3,424 people failed a breathalyser test following an accident, a 42% decrease from 5,873 in 2006. The decrease in failed test results correlates with fewer drink-driving related accidents over the years.

Drink-driving accidents have been recorded from 1979 and the number of alcohol-related accidents has also dropped by 71%.

However, drink-drivers are more prevalent on some roads than others.  The majority of drink-driving offenders have been caught on rural roads, with 35% testing over the limit.  Newnham & Jordan cover road traffic clients charged with drink driving (as well as speeding and other offences such as careless driving) both in urban and rural areas, particularly concentrating on Dorset and Hampshire, but extending into Wiltshire and Somerset.  It’s a sad fact that rural roads are generally more dangerous than urban roads and motorways which are normally better lit, better surfaced, wider and (at this chilly time of the year) much better gritted.

Another key statistic is the rise in the number of older drivers finding themselves convicted of drink driving.  From a total of 1,295 over 65s convicted of drink driving in 2005 this jumped to 1,435 in 2015.  An AA spokesperson opined that older drivers may have got away with it in the past and believe they can still drive while “half cut”.

At the end of the day there is no safe level of alcohol in one’s system and all drivers take a significant risk if they choose to drive after having a drink.

Have you been involved in a road traffic accident? Call Michael McGhie on 01202 877 400 for a practical, sensible solution!

Drink Driving and the Festive Season
One of the easiest ways to collect 6 penalty points on your driver’s licence is…

One of the easiest ways to collect 6 penalty points on your driver’s licence is…

…mobile phones!  Yes, doing almost anything with a mobile phone in a vehicle is about the easiest way to attract the attention of the police and collect a straight 6 points without really trying. Just a touch on the screen of your mobile device can be considered an offence and get you into trouble.

The legal bit:  Regulation 110 (1) and (2) of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) (No 4) Regulations 2003 prohibits a person from driving, or causing or permitting a person to drive, a motor vehicle on a road if the driver is using a held-hand mobile telephone or a hand-held device.

When is it in use?  The law says that a phone or device will be in use where it is making or receiving a call, or performing any other interactive communication function whether with another person or not.

What’s use?  The particular use to which the mobile phone must be put is not defined as an element of this road traffic offence. The prosecution must merely prove that the phone (or the other device) was hand held by the person at some point during its use at a time when the person was driving a vehicle on a road.

This sounds all very restrictive, I hear you say.  Yes, it is!  Very restrictive indeed and it’s almost impossible to hold and use a mobile phone while driving and be legal.

The words “any other interactive communication function” while being a right mouthful are, frankly, critical.  Even if you aren’t engaged in a conversation on the phone while driving you are highly likely to be breaching the regulation if you are doing something else with the phone.  So being curious to see if that beeping noise is a text or Facebook message arriving even with no intention of actually reading it, let alone replying to it, is going to be enough.  Equally, if you use the phone to stream music to your car music system and want to make some alteration using the phone itself then that will be another interactive communication function.  The problem is the words interactive communication function are not defined and so it’s really easy to fall foul of the legislation.

But, I hear you say, I was stuck in stationary traffic which wasn’t going anywhere.  No, don’t think about using that phone even if you have stop start technology built in; you’re not properly parked and you haven’t properly switched off the engine.

The Government advice to put the mobile in the glovebox is actually very wise – or if not in the glovebox then firmly in your pocket or somewhere out of the way completely.  Forget about it until the end of your journey.

Can’t I ever use a mobile phone on the move and avoid a road traffic offence?  The only time you can legally use a mobile phone while on the move is in the event of a genuine emergency and, even then, you need to be sure it’d be unsafe or impracticable to cease driving while the call is made.

In almost every instance don’t touch the phone when you’re on the move!

Michael McGhie, our Road Traffic expert will be pleased to talk with you about your case and discuss the options available to you. If you have  any queries please feel free to call us on 01202 877 400 or email michaelmcghie@newnham-jordan.co.uk.

Road Traffic Accidents in Autumn

 

As beautiful as Autumn is, the many changes, particularly those in the weather, pose new and dangerous problems on the road.

The transition season brings with it all kinds of problematic hazards for motorists, like:

  • Falling and wet leaves
  • Increased levels of rainfall
  • Increased frequency and strength of winds and breezes
  • Sunsets and sunrises around rush hour times

 

Accidents on the road increase by an average of 15% in October, statistics from the Department of Transport show.

The number of road traffic accidents suffered in October is approximately 21% higher than the figures for similar road incidents in August, which clearly indicates that drivers and cyclists are not adapting to the changing conditions quick enough.

Even more alarmingly, the Department of Transport revealed that car crash fatalities also rise around 14% above the monthly average each October.

The safety advice for driving in the autumn months is simple, but crucial:

  • Go slower than you otherwise might do – it’s better to be late than not arrive at all.
  • Remember to use your lights – once the clocks change again, the evenings start to darken quicker.
  • Have a pair of sunglasses handy – by blocking or shielding the setting or rising sun from your eyes you can prevent a potential car accident.

 

Road Traffic Accidents in Autumn