Whilst many motorists understand that road traffic laws serve a useful purpose, many are aggrieved when they are hit with a fixed penalty or court appearance for an infringement captured by discreetly placed cameras that they weren’t warned about.
It is quite common where warnings are given, such as where speed cameras are concerned, that drivers adapt their behaviour accordingly, for example by simply slowing down for that small section of road and increasing speed again as soon as they are out of range.
Drivers are used to being alerted that they are being observed and quite often can drive reactively to this, with many believing that such measures are simply a means to make money and not a real deterrent to those committing motoring offences.
With fewer officers on our streets, the police have been left to find cost-effective ways of identifying driving infringements and bringing back the deterrent factor onto our roads. One such manner has seen the introduction of campaigns such as ‘Operation Spartan’ in North Yorkshire, where motorists are encouraged to share dash cam footage with the police where they have witnessed evidence of bad driving.
A driver would be unaware of any issue until they receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution followed by a summons to court or an invitation to attend a police interview. The types of offences identified by these dash cams can range from using a mobile telephone, running a red light, and careless or dangerous driving. You may be being observed when you are least expecting it and this puts drivers in a very risky position if they tend to habitually break the rules when it seems likely that they can get away with it.
Dash cams are becoming increasingly common for the everyday motorist and therefore the advice to drivers is not to take any chance and to assume that there may always be a method of observing and reporting this information.
It can feel like a grave intrusion of privacy and seem quite strange that the local authority or Highways Agency are required to erect notices advising drivers where CCTV or other camera enforcement is in use; yet this constant observation and recording in dash cam footage goes largely unregulated. However, the evidence produced is probably the most reliable available, given that it is likely to be video rather than stills and does not rely on an eyewitness account which can be open to interpretation. If prepared correctly, it can be presented in court proceedings and used as evidence to support a prosecution.
There have been many examples of this where drivers have been prosecuted for offences such as using a mobile phone, failing to observe traffic signals and most commonly careless driving. Careless driving can include all manner of inconsiderate driving such as undertaking, driving too close to other cars or being distracted in the vehicle by changing the radio or even applying make-up.
If you have been reported for a motoring offence, you are likely to receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution so that the police can identify who the driver was at the time in question. You are legally obliged to complete and return this within 28 days. Depending upon the severity of the allegation you may be offered a driver awareness course, fixed penalty or be invited for voluntary police interview under caution. If this is the case, you are entitled to be accompanied by a solicitor and take legal advice.
If you are facing an investigation or prosecution for any motoring offence, call our expert team today on 0800 0463066.