Driving offences is an area which has changed a lot over recent years with new offences being incorporated. There are a number of minor offences which many people are not aware of and this is a summary of 20 basic driving offences which you should be aware of: –
- Texting/using your phone at the wheel of a stationary car
If you use your mobile phone whilst at the steering wheel of your car you must ensure that the engine is switched off. It is still an offence, even if you are stationary at traffic lights, to use your phone whilst you are behind the wheel and the engine is running.
- Using your mobile phone as a Sat Nav in an unfixed position
It is illegal to use your phone as a satellite navigation device if it is not fixed to your windscreen or dashboard. The Law states that the phone has to be in a fixed position whilst driving and it must be in clear sight without you having to hold it.
You can receive up to 6 points on your Licence for this offence.
- Towing Speed
You cannot exceed 60mph if you are towing a caravan or trailer.
- Misusing the hard shoulder
If you drive on the hard shoulder while it is closed then you can be subject to a fixed fine of up to £100 and 3 penalty points. It is important to note that Highways England are currently monitoring people driving on closed hard shoulders when there are signs warning them not to.
- Parking at night in the wrong direction
You must not park your vehicle at night facing the flow of traffic unless it is in a designated parking space.
- Driving with a hangover
This is probably an obvious point but if you have been out the night before and you drive with a hangover you could still be over the limit because alcohol will still be in your system. If you are over the legal limit you will be banned from driving for a minimum of 12 months.
- Eating or drinking whilst driving
Whilst eating or drinking behind the wheel is not necessarily an offence if it means that you are distracted then the Police can still prosecute you for driving without due care and attention particularly if they can establish that you were not in complete control of your vehicle. This carries 3 to 9 penalty points.
- Using your phone at a drive through
Imagine you are at McDonalds drive through and you make your order, you then drive to the kiosk and you use your phone to pay via contactless – whilst the engine is running your feet are applied to the breaks and therefore you are committing an offence. It is illegal to use your phone in such a situation without the engine being switched off and the handbrake being applied. This is similar to the point above is that you are not in complete control of the vehicle. You can get up to 6 penalty points for this offence.
Undertaking is a criminal offence and it carries fixed penalty points.
- Sleeping in your car whilst under the influence of alcohol over the legal limit
If you decide to sleep in your car to sober up before driving after consuming alcohol then it is a very serious offence and it carries up to 10 penalty points and a fine. The Law states that you should not be in charge of a motor vehicle if you are over the legal limit for alcohol and by sitting, particularly behind the wheel, it could be established that you have the intent of driving/being in charge of a vehicle.
- Driving in the middle lane of a motorway
The rules on the motorway are that the left hand lane is the main lane for driving and that the middle and fast lanes should only be used for overtaking. Once the overtaking manouver has taken place you should revert back to the left hand lane. Drivers who remain in the middle land of the motorway could fall into the offence of careless driving which carries a penalty point charge of 3 points and a fixed fine.
- Not clearing your windscreen before driving
The Highway Code states that you have to be able to see through every panel of glass in the vehicle clearly and if you fall foul of this then you are breaking the Law. This also means getting rid of all frost and snow from any windows and mirrors.
- Placing baby seats in a sit with an air bag
It is illegal to place a baby seat in a seat which has an active air bag in front.
- Throwing something out of the window of your vehicle
It is an offence to throw any rubbish including even an apple core or a cigarette butt out of the window of a vehicle.
- Getting out of the car on a single yellow line
Single yellow lines are designated in the Highway Code as places designed for dropping people off or picking people up and therefore the driver is prohibited from getting out of the vehicle if it is parked on a single yellow line.
In October 2015 it was made illegal to smoke in your vehicle if any passenger is under the age of 18.
- Leaving a car parked with the engine running
It is an offence to leave a vehicle in a parked situation while the engine is running. The Road Traffic Act from 1988 states that it is an offence to do so.
UK roads do not have a minimum speed limit but driving slowly can be a punishable offence if it causes danger/hazard to other road users. You could be charged with driving without due care and attention. The Department for Transport states that there are 40 to 50 accidents that come about as a result of somebody not driving at a sufficient speed and crawling is sufficient to enable you to have a major fault on your driving test which would result in the failure of that test. The maximum penalty is a fine and up to 9 penalty points.
- Having a dirty number plate
If the number plate is dirty and unreadable then this is an offence and it can land you with a fine of up to £1,000.
- Beeping your horn in anger
The Highway Code states that the only reason to beep you horn is to alert someone of your presence so if you beep the horn in anger you can be subject to a fine of £30.
We are not criminal experts ourselves but it would be useful to branch out on this occasion as this Guide provides some interesting points which most people are probably completely unaware of.
For advice on non-driving related issues please do not hesitate to contact us on 01654 711499/01341 281108 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.