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Christmas prosecutions for drink driving, dangereous driving and drug driving

It is estimated that one in five motorists will drive, knowingly or inadvertently, over the legal drink drive limit during the Christmas period. This will, of course, include motorists who know they have consumed alcohol in excess of the legal limit but will also include a large number of people stopped by police, the morning after a Christmas party.

When a motorist has been consuming significant amounts of alcohol for several nights on the run, not only does the amount in the body naturally start to backup, but the body metabolises it at a slower rate which means it remains in the system for far longer and puts the motorist at increased risk of being over the limit and facing a prosecution for a drink driving charge this Christmas.

That is not the only potential prosecution faced by motorists. Even if a motorist is not over the limit, if, either due to a hangover, late nights, disrupted sleep pattern a motorist is involved in an accident they could face a prosecution for dangerous driving. It is well-established caselaw that if an individual drives whilst not fit through tiredness, illness or other cause, which results in a danger, then the offence of dangerous driving has been committed.  This can result in a prosecution for dangerous driving. Examples include motorists falling asleep at the wheel but they can even include simple cases of motorists failing to notice particular hazards on the road as a result of tiredness which results in very serious, sometimes fatal consequences.

Furthermore, the general public regard the offence of drug-driving as driving whilst having cannabis, cocaine or other illegal drugs in the system. An increased number of prosecutions for drug driving are arising from people having been stopped by the police or involved in an accident, whilst having significant quantities of over-the-counter medication in the system. The primary example of this is motorists being prosecuted for drink-driving due to unlawfully high levels of codeine in the system. Codeine, an opiate,  is known to cause drowsiness and lack of concentration. The legal limits of this medication are low. Another potential that the motorist therefore has to look out for is taking significant amounts of codeine based medication, especially if being taken to cure a hangover!

Read all posts by Robert Bimpson Posted by: Robert Bimpson on December 17th, 2015 @ 08:09 AM
Tagged with: christmas drink driving charge, dangerous driving, drug driving



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Sentences for causing death by dangerous driving

Drivers who face a prosecution for causing death by dangerous driving could face more onerous penalties by way of extended prison sentences if found guilty. This was following a recent sentence review announced by the Prime Minister.

The Ministry of Justice is reviewing the law in relation to causing death by dangerous driving and, in particular, the penalties to be handed out.

At the moment, the offence of causing death by dangerous driving carries a minimum prison sentence of one year and disqualification from driving for at least two years. Following conviction of a motorist a court can hand out prison sentences of up to 14 years. It is unusual for such a lengthy prison sentence to be imposed. The average prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is just below five years. This has been steadily increasing over the last few years.

The proposed increase in penalties for causing death by dangerous driving demonstrates how essential it is to have a specialist traffic lawyer representing the motorist at court. This is a highly specialised and technical field. Given the potential outcomes, motorist would be well advised to seek the services of a specialist traffic defence lawyer. Any one time we have we are representing a number of motorists charged with the offence of causing death by dangerous driving and are highly experienced in this field.

Read all posts by Robert Bimpson Posted by: Robert Bimpson on September 13th, 2016 @ 08:57 AM
Tagged with: dangerous driving, Death by dangerous driving, prison sentences for causing death by dangerous driving



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Motorists driving too close to cyclists when passing

West Midlands police is the first police force to specifically target drivers of motor vehicles who pass too closely to cyclists.

In future motorists could face prosecution for careless driving or  dangerous driving if , when passing a cyclist on the road they go too close. The highway code specifies that when a motorist drives past a cyclist they should give at least the same space as when overtaking a car. The safe passing distance for a car overtaking a cyclist is generally regarded to be a minimum of 1.5 m. This allows for the cyclist falling off the bike as the motorist is passing.

I have defended in a number of motoring cases where a cyclist has been seriously injured or has died when they they have been hit by a motorist overtaking them and, at the same time they either wobbled or fell off the bike. In such cases a motorist who has travelled too close to the cyclist resulting in a fatality would almost certainly find themselves prosecuted for causing death by careless driving or causing death by dangerous driving.

Although initially most drivers will be given words of advice by the roadside, any motorist that the police decide has driven dangerously close to a cyclist will most likely face a prosecution for dangerous driving and taken to court.

Motorists should be aware that cyclists may need to avoid potholes, drain covers or other obstacles on the road and so give sufficient room when overtaking.

The statistics of car accidents involving cyclists resulting inserious injury or death are startling. Between 2010 and 2014 , 530 cyclists were either killed or seriously injured in the West Midlands police force area alone. The vast majority of those were accidents involving cars and cyclists.

Over the last few months the West Midlands police has brought prosecutions for careless or dangerous driving against 38 motorists who went too close to cyclists.

Read all posts by Robert Bimpson Posted by: Robert Bimpson on September 19th, 2016 @ 09:28 AM
Tagged with: careless driving, dangerous driving, driving too close to cyclists, motorist knocking rider off bike



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Stay hydrated to avoid road traffic accidents

Recent research from Loughborough University has confirmed that mildly dehydrated motorists make as many mistakes as those over the drink drive limit for alcohol and more than twice as many mistakes as those who were properly hydrated.

Motorists who drunk as little as 25 ML of water an hour  whilst driving , apparently made as many mistakes as those over the drink drive limit. The conclusion is that whilst drinking when impired through drugs or over the legal drink drive alcohol limit increases the risk of accidents there is an unrecognised danger caused by drivers who are not properly hydrated.

There are many cases where people who are not impaired to drive through drink or drugs but are involved in road traffic accidents and face proceedings for dangerous driving or driving without due care and attention. Very often these driver errors will be as a result of a momentary lapse of concentration or brief error of judgement. The experts suggest that lack of proper hydration could be behind these failures to maintain proper levels of concentration.

The NHS recommends that women should drink about 1.6 L of fluid per day and men  2 L per day as average. This does not take account of particular demands upon the body for extra fluids by, e.g. strenuous physical exercise.

A series of tests carried out did confirm that people who were not properly hydrated were more likely to lose concentration whilst driving, resulting in late breaking, failure to notice hazards ahead and drifting across the centre white line.

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Read all posts by Robert Bimpson Posted by: Robert Bimpson on April 20th, 2015 @ 09:04 AM
Tagged with: careless driving, dangerous driving, drink driving, impairment to drive, lack of hydration



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