It is that time of year again when we all dust off our Wham CD and dream about the holidays ahead. Whether you enjoy the thrill of the shops or shake at the thought of chasing the last luvabella doll we all connected by one main fear – The Public.
With the flickering Christmas lights illuminating the dark skies and the ever increasing members of the public on the road there is no doubt that this is a challenging time to be a driver. However, you must remember to keep your eyes on the roads as with just a momentary lapse in concentration you could be opening up an envelope on Christmas day inviting you to your local court to discuss a breach of s.3 of The Road Traffic Act 1988.
This act states:-
“If a person drives a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence.”
What does this mean?
A person is to be regarded as driving without due care and attention if (and only if) the way he drives falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver. In determining this the court will consider what would be expected of a careful and competent driver in your particular case. Indeed, it shall take regard not only to the circumstances of which you could be expected to be aware but also to any circumstances shown to have been within your knowledge. Finally, you shall be regarded as driving without reasonable consideration for other persons only if those persons are inconvenienced by your driving.
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We appeared in court this week to defend a client who had been charged with careless driving. He already had penalty points endorsed on his licence for a non related offence and therefore ran the risk of not only losing his licence but also his livelihood if convicted.
The facts of the case were relatively straightforward and not uncommon in Scotland today. Our client was a transport operator and had been driving alone in his vehicle with no witness or dash cam. The Complainer was driving a transit van with his colleague in the vehicle. Both vehicles met in a remote country road and both parties allege that the other was on the wrong side of the road. No markings were present on the road nor was there any other witness to the incident. Following a review of the witness statements the Procurator Fiscal decided to only charge our client with a s.3 offence.
Fortunately contrary to popular belief the court will not simply agree with the party that has the most witnesses when determining the verdict. Instead the court requires to weigh up the credibility and reliability of every witness along with any other evidence presented to it. In this particular case following a detailed investigation of the vehicles, road and our client’s experience we were able to persuade the court the charge was not proven beyond reasonable doubt and our client was found not guilty.
In order to prepare for your trial we would recommend that a detailed analysis of your case is carried out. Factors such as the road, the Highway Code, vehicles involved and the witnesses available should be considered. We at Jackson Boyd are happy to help you with this analysis and hope that the only guilty verdict this year is related to your chocolate consumption. For more information please contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 222 1855.