How to report someone for dangerous driving
We’ve all witnessed a motorist driving dangerously – you feel powerless to do anything about it and just have to hope that the police are around, ready to do something about it.
But you’re not powerless. If you see somebody driving a car in a manner that puts themselves, their passengers and other motorists at risk of an accident, you are well within your rights to report them.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how and when to report someone for dangerous driving, and what you can expect the outcome to be.
Careless driving versus dangerous driving
If you want to do your bit as a law-abiding citizen and report drivers breaking the law, you need to know the difference between careless driving and dangerous driving.
In short, careless driving is when the standard of driving falls below an acceptable standard, whereas dangerous driving is when the standard of driving falls far below an acceptable standard.
But to be able to accurately distinguish between the two when out on the road, you’re going to need a little more in the way of definitions than that.
The Motorists’ Lawyer website spells out the differences between the two offences:
Careless driving is when the standard of driving ‘falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver’.
There are various situations that might amount to careless driving. In each, the driver will either be regarded as driving without due care and attention, or as driving without reasonable consideration for other road users. Examples of careless driving can include:
· Overtaking on the inside
· Running a red light
· Driving while distracted (e.g. using a mobile phone)
· Sudden breaking
The penalties for careless driving vary significantly. At the very least, a driver can expect three penalty points and a £100 fine.
But if the driver already has too many points on their licence to accept a fixed penalty notice, or the nature of the offence is considered serious, the police may prosecute them instead.
This means that their case will go to court. If they are found guilty, they face up to nine penalty points, a fine of up to £5,000 and a discretionary disqualification.
Dangerous driving is when the standard of driving ‘falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver’.
So, there is just one word which separates dangerous driving from careless driving – ‘far’. But the two offences are very different. Namely, dangerous driving is much more serious.
Examples of dangerous driving include:
· Racing or driving aggressively
· Dangerous overtaking
· Driving while under the influence of drink or drugs
· Driving despite knowing you are not fit to drive
· Driving a vehicle that you know has a defect
So, a motorist can be convicted for dangerous driving based on both the standard of their driving and the condition of their vehicle.
It is important to note that a motorist doesn’t necessarily have to cause an accident or injure anyone to be charged with dangerous driving.
The penalties for dangerous driving are pretty hefty. There is a mandatory disqualification of at least 12 months; the Crown Court can extend this to a two-year ban, and can also hand out between three and 11 penalty points, as well as an unlimited fine.
In the most serious of cases, a driver can be sent to prison for up to two years.
Who should I contact?
If you believe you’ve witnessed a motorist driving carelessly or dangerously – putting themselves, their passengers and other motorists at risk of an accident – and you feel implored to do something about it, you can phone the non-emergency police number by calling 101.
If you are reporting the incident once you’ve arrived at your destination, you might want to check your local police force’s website for an online form where you can submit the relevant information on the incident.
What information should I give?
When reporting an instance of dangerous driving to the police, you have a number of details to hand – without these, the police would find it extremely difficult to track down the driver.
Here are the details you will need to write down – if possible – to pass onto the police:
· Vehicle Registration Number (licence plate)
· Make, model and colour of the car (e.g. A silver Volkswagen Polo)
· The time and location of the incident
· Any information that could identify the driver (e.g. The driver may be working for a company whose name and logo is on the car/van)
Is the information confidential?
Any contact information that you give to the police will be treated in confidence. Contact information such as a telephone number or email address is requested in case the police need to make contact with you should the report you gave require further clarification.
What happens next?
The police will weigh up the severity of the incident and also take into account whether the vehicle has been reported before or if the driver is considered to be high-risk. They may then take the following action:
· Pass the report to the local police force’s Road Policing Unit for them to take any action they feel appropriate.
· Submit your report to their database of dangerous driving reports, which provides a history of the allegations made against the vehicle and its owner.
· Send a letter of warning to the registered owner of the vehicle.
How do you get convicted driver insurance?
If you’ve ever been convicted of careless or dangerous driving yourself, getting a good deal on insurance cover can be difficult, especially if you’ve received a driving ban.
Some insurers will have significantly higher premiums because they feel the risk is higher to provide convicted drivers with cover, while others might not even offer a quote as that type of risk is one they don’t consider.
But competitive cover and excellent benefits needn’t be a thing of the past. Insurance Factory’s convicted driver insurance can arrange cover taking into account a range of motoring offences, including:
· Driving without insurance
· Driving/attempting to drive with a blood alcohol level exceeding legal limits
· Exceeding the speed limit on a motorway
· Driving in a dangerous manner
· Driving at a dangerous speed
· Reckless driving
· Non-motoring convictions
We’ve got 20 years of experience arranging insurance for convicted drivers in the UK, and have access to a specialist panel of insurers. So, you can rest assured that you’ll be well looked after at Insurance Factory. Get a quote today!