Some of you might have seen the recent petition to “Increase penalties for dangerous driving around cars displaying L-Plates”
XT (wll by XT I mean me, our instructors are free to make their own decisions on everything) aren’t supporting this.
Why? Because its nonsense.
“A minimum fine of £100 and 3 penalty points on the offenders licence should be implemented”
“Intimidation/abuse” are either public order offences or careless/dangerous driving offences all of which already exist in law with far more serious penalties.
Unfortunately for the people that wrote the petition a £100 fine and 3 points on your license would be a considerable reduction in the penalty for Dangerous Driving which starts with a mandatory disqualification and retest, careless driving which starts with a Band C fine (150% of weekly income and 7 to 9 points)
Dangerous driving is, well dangerous. And it already has a pretty high bar, That’s why many charges usually end up as Careless Driving convictions instead as its easier to prove. Careless driving penalties are already set at minimum 3-4 points and go up to 7-9 points or disqualification. In any event the court will take the full circumstances into account and intimidating a vulnerable person such as learner would be an aggravating factor.
Secondly the relevant links state the research was gathered “amongst a panel of 610 independent UK driving instructors” and say “In addition to pupils becoming more nervous & likely to make mistakes, they reported 1/3 had to pull over & 8% became too scared to carry on learning to drive. 69% report being honked at & 49% cite verbal abuse.” 69% of learners report being “honked” at? I can’t remember the last time I was “honked” at on a driving lesson, mainly because I choose a route suitable for the ability of the pupil. And secondly I’m not really sure (as an ex-police officer myself) that three points is really proporationate as a minimum penalty for sounding the horn at a learner driver (The offence actually carries a £30 non-endorsable fine if dealt with by a ticket)
I’ve never experienced verbal abuse in the entire time I’ve been teaching. Mainly because how would I know? I don’t stop to have a brief chat with other road users on a lesson.
The original comment jumps from fractions to decimals, but apparently 1/3 of pupils from 610 had to pull over because of behaviour from other drivers? Do these figures sound remotely correct to any ADI? Have 33% of your pupils had to pull over on a lesson because of other drivers?, have 8% quit learning and so on?
It becomes even more bizare when we read that “91% of learners have been subjected to overtaking” Is overtaking now a crime? Should we all sit in a queue behind slower moving vehicles, or is it dangerous driving in someway to overtake a learner, who if taken on a route inappropriate to their own ability is now holding up lines of cars behind them. Although unlikely given the current state of road policing, the learner is actually the one potentially comitting the offence of careless or inconsiderate driving if they don’t pull over at suitable opportunities, because they’re not complying with Rule 169:
“Do not hold up a long queue of traffic, especially if you are driving a large or slow-moving vehicle. Check your mirrors frequently, and if necessary, pull in where it is safe and let traffic pass.”