Motorists at risk of major £5,000 fines for ‘serious safety issue’ under little-known law
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Some drivers may be tempted to drive through large puddles when it is raining or after a downpour. But, splashing a pedestrian could be seen as careless and inconsiderate driving under the Road Traffic Act 1998 and lead to “big fines”.
Although this may not always be the case if someone splashes a pedestrian, if it is judged to be careless, they will face consequences.
A motorist could receive a £100 fine and three penalty points on their driving licence.
If this is challenged in court the driver could be found to have committed an “act of incompetence, selfishness, impatience, or aggressiveness”.
This comes with a fine up to £5,000 and nine points on their licence.
While many may think this is unenforceable, the police have acted on it and fined drivers who have purposefully splashed pedestrians.
Last year, in Cambridgeshire, an appeal was launched to find a motorist who soaked a mother after ploughing through a puddle.
The mother was with her two children, including one in a pram, when a car drove through the 20ft-long puddle and splashed all three.
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police said at the time: “On Thursday, January 4, around noon, a mother was with her two children, one in a pram and the other walking alongside her near the junction of Pig Lane and Greengarth in St Ives.
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“Due to the poor weather, a very large puddle had built up due to a blocked drain near to the junction which was halfway across the road. It was not raining and the puddle, some 20 feet in length, could easily be seen by motorists.
“Unbelievably a motorist drove through the puddle causing the water to soak the three.
“The driver could well have waited to drive around the puddle or driven through it very slowly so as to not cause water to splash anyone on the footpath.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) guidance is that lower-level careless driving offences are considered for a fixed penalty, while advice also states the offender should be offered driver education in most cases.
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The CPS charging guidelines cites splashing pedestrians as an example of driving that should lead to a charge.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, described the offence as a “serious safety issue for drivers”.
She added: “Firstly, drivers have no way of knowing what the road surface is under the puddle, causing unpredictable driving conditions.
“Secondly, the water itself can cause the car to aquaplane – where the vehicle’s tyres fail to grip the road and cause the driver to lose control.
“If that isn’t enough, it’s also just incredibly rude and drivers can be penalised, quite rightly, with a huge £5,000 fine.
“Puddle rage really can lead to big fines.
“To avoid this cost and to ensure their safety, we advise motorists to look out for big puddles when driving, and pay particular attention when there are pedestrians around.”
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