A9 Speed Camera Protest from Lorry Drivers
The A9 may soon become an even bigger nightmare to travel on when HGV drivers implement the planned protest to drive “Within the speed limit”. It was reported in the Glasgow Herald today that lorry drivers are preparing to stage an imminent protest on the A9 over plans to introduce average speed cameras without increasing the speed limit for HGVs.
The drivers presently claim that they will not deliberately establish convoys, but the application of some common sense tells us that this will be what will happen. The protest is the type of thing that we have seen before in France where farmers have used this method to disrupt transport links with a ”Rolling Roadblock Protest”. In France the protesters have set out to disrupt but here there seems to be a genuine desire to free up the roads and make them safer at on of the busiest times of year for road hauliers.
The current limit restricts vehicles above 7.5 tonnes to 40mph, which is 20mph slower than cars on A-class single carriageway roads. However, vans and lorries up to 7.5 tonnes, buses and coaches, motor homes over 3.05 tonnes and cars pulling caravans can all legally travel at 50mph.
Hopefully the police and Scottish Government can act fast to reduce danger and save lives on a road renowned for driver frustration and the consequential accidents .
Graham Walker Road Traffic Law
Graham Walker of Roadtrafficlaw is a specialist road traffic law solicitor but his services are definitely not just for the rich and famous. Those are just some of the cases you may, get to hear about.
Very often the general public are under the misapprehension that only celebrities and footballers, get the services of, or are able to afford a specialist road traffic lawyer. We deal with ordinary motorists every day and we deal with cases all over Scotland. Although Legal Aid is not available for many road traffic cases Home Insurance often provides cover for legal expenses. Strange that this is not “bolted onto” car cover but it seems that in general you will not receive legal expenses cover on your car insurance (Unless you have specifically requested at time of contract) but you may well have legal expenses cover on that Home contents policy that just renews every year without a thought.
If you already have points on our licence or if you depend upon your driving licence then you really should ask your Home Insurance provider to add this to your policy or give you a quote for doing so. I am told that for as little as £35 per year you can receive several thousand pounds worth of legal expenses cover. The average case costs in he region of £2000+VAT to defend. That is a horrific amount of money for people to find for a crisis purchase.Many of us presently pay more than this per year to make sure we can afford to have someone fix a central heating boiler if that goes on the blink. If your driving licence is as important as your central heating you might want to add legal expenses cover to that list of monthly direct debits!
This misconception is understandable as its only the celebrity cases that tend to get large amounts press and media coverage. But we deal with people from all walks of life… and if your licence is important to you… we are able to help.
Graham Walker explains in the following video…
Speed Cameras on the A9
Up in Dingwall for a case today’s and have suffered the usual 4.5hr drive through summer traffic on the A9 to arrive to headlines that the SNP reckon 40 sets of shiny new average speed cameras are the solution to the frustrations felt by every driver who has the miserable experience of driving for miles behind trucks, caravans or tourist sightseers.
I cannot believe their audacity. To make political capital out of an announcement that they would be at the forefront of dualing the A9 yet to then turn round and invest millions in speed cameras is an affront to the intelligence of Scotland’s voters. Especially those in the Highlands. Look out Alex Salmond because it looks like Lib Dem Danny Alexander has you in his sights and he can tell us all about the £1 billion Westminister has allocated to infrastructure budget in Scotland and can tell us that the expectation was it would be invested in the dualing project of the A9. Instead of that the Scottish motorist can be expected to be milked by speed cameras like the proverbial cash cow of old.
We all know that dualing the A9 is a big job but it is far from being rocket science. lets remember that we are talking about sections of road that go through some of the most scarcely populated areas of Scotland.
On the accident black spots let’s get the cameras in place, immediately but do not litter the entire road with 40 sets. At last count these things cost around £350,000 per set. The Scottish Government claim £2.5 million will cover the installation and servicing of 40 sets. Now I am no Carol Vorderman but I reckon that figure is a lot of baloney. I reckon it will be more like 10 million minimum and we should expect a lot more for our money. These speed cameras will cost a great deal more than the £2.5 suggested by the Scottish Government but the unspoken word is that no one in Government cares because “they always pay for themselves in motorist fines”
Speed Cameras in Scotland
The bigger picture is do we want to be one of the heaviest policed communities in Europe?
Do we want a government that squanders our money on prosecution systems or real road safety solutions?
There is a place for speed cameras but in my view they are merely a sticking plaster. We need real solutions and the dealing of large parts of the A9 is a real solution that has been a long time coming for the people of the Highlands in particular but for every motorist that requires to drive north of the central belt for business and yes, Alex a great many of have to do so regularly and with the development of the renewables economy in the Highlands we should expect a great deal more from our politicians.
The A9 puts us all to shame. Many of us will have had the experience of driving in neighbouring European countries over the summer and we are filled with wonder that vast stretches of the road network are safe and very comfortable to drive on, even in some of the so called economic crisis countries, their road systems are far better than ours.
We are told that £1.1 billion EXTRA funding was set aside by the Westminster government for this so we should all be asking the SNP government to show us that money on the A9. Not with yellow vulture speed cameras systems but with a real commitment to road safety and decent roads.
Speeding Fines |Legal Advice About Speeding Fines
Speeding fines start at £100 for a Fixed Penalty (Or as they are called in Scotland a Conditional Offer) If you are caught breaking the speed limit either by the a police patrol or a safety camera, the next thing that happens is that :-
- the police just give you a verbal warning (Unlikely in the days of Key Perfomance Indicators)
- they may offer you the chance to take part in a speed-awareness course (Soon available throughout Scotland, bt more common in England)
- issue a Fixed Penalty Notice or Conditional Offer (a speeding ticket), with a fine of £100 and three penalty points
- report the matter to the Procurator Fiscal’s office and have you prosecuted in the Justice of the Peace court for speeding. This will mean you will have to go to court,(On more than one occasion if going to trial) and could face a fine of up to £1,000 (£2,500 if you were speeding on the motorway), between three and six penalty points on your driving licence, and a possible driving disqualification.
If you’re caught speeding, the action taken will depend on various circumstances, but mostly on how far you were exceeding the speed limit.
What will happen if you are caught speeding
Drivers sometimes ask if they need a NIP even when stopped by the police at the time. The answer is no, a verbal warning is sufficient and if there was an accident then no NIP is required at all
What To Do When You Receive A Speeding Ticket
Answer the NIP then receive a Fixed Penalty offer in the post. If a criminal conviction would be a major headache for you ie. You are a professional such as a Doctor, a lawyer or anyone who must report a conviction to a governing professional body you should carefully consider whether you wish to risk conviction by fighting the case. If you travel internationally you should carefully consider whether to risk a conviction as this can also cause significant hassle with VISAs and travel arrangements.
Even if you know you are not guilty you might risk much more than legal fees in deciding to go to trial. A conditional offer or Fixed Penalty is NOT a criminal conviction.
With most minor speeding offences, when you return the NIP, you’ll receive a Conditional Offer of a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN).
What The Police Will Not Admit To?
In this interesting video posted by an aggrieved party on YouTube we see what seems to be an officer using a laser device from inside his vehicle through the windscreen on a bright sunny day. Who cares? Anyone charged by these guys should care as this is against the ACPO Guidelines on laser use for very good reason. It is also interesting to see it in practise as in all my years dealing with such cases I have never yet heard a police officer confess that this is how they used the device.
It’s illegal to drive if you’re unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs.
If the police stop you and think you’re on drugs they can do a ‘Field Impairment Assessment’. This is a series of tests, like asking you to walk in a straight line and checking the size of your pupils.
If they think you’re unfit to drive because of taking drugs, you’ll be arrested and will have a blood test at a police station. If the test shows you’ve taken drugs you could be charged with a crime.
You don’t have to be on illegal drugs to be unfit to drive – many prescription or over-the-counter drugs can also impair your ability to drive. If you’re on legal drugs and not sure, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional before driving.
Penalties for drug driving
If you’re convicted of drug driving you’ll get:
- a minimum 1 year driving ban
- a fine of up to £5,000
- a criminal record
Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years.
The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
Other problems you could face
A conviction for drug driving also means:
- your car insurance costs will increase significantly
- if you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence
- you may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA
Running a red traffic light is one of the three most common charges under Road Traffic law. Here we will take a short look at the law behind such a charge, and the possible punishments you can expect if convicted of the offence. A little known technical defence exists in relation to these cases and if you are charged and need to avoid three points you should get in touch with us as soon as possible. We often win these cases and can tell you all about how we can do it when we see your case papers and you hire us to defend you.
Running A Red Traffic Light
Running a red traffic light is an offence under section 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, it provides that a person driving a vehicle ‘who fails to comply with the indication given by the sign is guilty of an offence.’ Today, traffic lights can have cameras positioned in order to photograph those that pass through red lights. Some cameras positioned at traffic lights may also have the ability to measure the speed although this is not commonly used in Scotland. The cameras are designed to operate when the light has turned red and the vehicle breaks a beam thus triggering the camera shutter.
Scotland has long held legal principle that to prove a crime against a citizen there must be two separate sources of evidence pointing to the guilt of the accused. You may read and hear a lot more about it as it comes under challenge in a recent review of of criminal law system by one of our High court Law Lords. He concluded that the requirement of corroboration should be entirely abolished for all categories of crime. It is an archaic rule that has no place in a modern legal system where judges and juries should be free to consider all relevant evidence and to answer the single question of whether they are satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the accused person committed the offence libelled.”
However running a red light has long been an exception to the requirement for corroboration and it can be established by one source of evidence eg One policeman who sees you go through on red!
One might think that means that it is easy for the Crown to prove such a case but in my experience I find the fact that when the Crown only call one such eye witness we can often win the case as it really just stacks up to being a judgement call from the bench on whether they believe one person or another (And sometimes there will be passengers and other witnesses who are able to state that the accused did not run the red light.
Penalties for Running a Red Traffic Light
Prosecution for running a red traffic light will usually amount to an endorsement of 3 penalty points on your license as well as a monetary penalty. A fixed penalty notice should be delivered within 14 days of the alleged offence. If the matter is to proceed to trial then you must receive the copy complaint within 6 months of the alleged offence. Should the Fixed Penalty Notice or complaint not arrive within the allotted time then you should contact us and your case should be won.
If you have been charged with running a red traffic light and you do not believe you are guilty of the offence it is important to contact a solicitor for advice to determine whether of not you have a defence. Even if you ran a red light, you may have a technical defence please get in touch because we might be the difference between a 6 month totting up ban and driving away from the court
Call us now on 0800 612 9597 or visit our website and fill out the Contact-Us Form.
Dangerous Driving is a very serious charge which can result in a minimum 12 month driving ban, or at worst a custodial sentence. It is up to the court to determine what is and what is not driving dangerously. It tends to be the manner of driving that constitutes dangerous driving; for example speeding may not constitute a charge however driving grossly in excess of the speed limit may constitute driving dangerously, as can additional factors (such as tailgating or undertaking) or aggravating factors such as poor weather conditions.
What Is Dangerous Driving?
According to the Road Traffic Act 1988 a driver drives dangerously where ‘the way he drives falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver, and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.’ It is a matter of fact and law, whether a driver has driven dangerously. The courts, not the police, determine whether section 2A has been met. A conviction is serious and the BEST case scenario is a driving ban of 12 months coupled with a mandatory re-sit of an extended driving test. In the more extreme cases even a custodial sentence could be imposed.
Charged With Dangerous Driving: What Next?
If you have been charged with any road traffic offence in Scotland, including Dangerous Driving, it is important to obtain expert legal advice from a solicitor. Contact Graham Walker and the Road Traffic Law team by filling out the Contact Form at www.roadtrafficlaw.com/contact-us or call on 0800 612 9597
Police Scotland’s ‘Keep Scotland’s Roads Safe‘ Initiative has been running throughout the summer months, aimed at ‘cracking down’ on irresponsible driving throughout the country. With the greatly improved Summer weather we have been enjoying it has been vulnerable road users, who include cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and motorcyclists, have been the focus of such initiative. A recent report sheds some light on what impact this is having on motorists driving habits.
Keep Scotland’s Roads Safe for Summer Drivers
As discussed previously on this Blog, we should all be ‘Thinking Bike’ on the weekends when the nice weather is out. This is due to the fact that the numbers of vulnerable road users tends to increase during the summer months as they look to take advantage of longer days and improved weather. Recent statistics from the Keep Scotland’s Roads Safe initiative show that, although there has been a decrease in pedestrian casualties, there has also been a noticeable increase in pedal cyclist and motorcyclist casualties.
Latest Police Scotland figures report that last week officer’s detected:
- 1171 vehicles speeding,
- 218 motorists driving whilst using a mobile phone,
- 113 were reported for Careless or Dangerous driving during this period,
- In addition to this the Scottish Safety Camera partnerships detected 1209 vehicles speeding.
Keep Scotland’s Roads Safe
A police spokesperson said “Our officers have been patrolling Scotland’s roads focusing on educating everyone about the vulnerability of certain groups of road users. It is disappointing that a number of motorists are still not heeding our advice. All road users must be aware of their surroundings at all times.”
If you have been stopped during the Keep Scotland’s Roads Safe campaign it is important that you seek immediate expert legal help. To discuss your case with one of our solicitors visit www.roadtrafficlaw.com and fill out the contact form or call 0800 612 9597 to arrange a meeting now.
Drink Driving Campaign which we blogged about last month has seen 140 Motorists charged with driving under the influence of drink and/or drugs since Police Scotland’s Summer Crackdown began at the beginning of the month. Please take the time to read about this latest announcement here:
Summer Drink Driving Campaign Update
Police Scotland’s summer drink driving campaign is less than two weeks old and already an alarming number of motorists have been stopped for offences. Out of the 140 motorists charged with an offence 125 people fail alcohol tests, two motorists were caught driving under the influence of drugs and a further 13 drivers were judged unfit to drive by police officers due to the effect of drink or drugs, without the need for a test. Police stressed yesterday that they all motorists charged with a drink driving offence face losing their licences for a minimum of 12 months as they seek to send out a message to a hardcore of persistent offenders who continue to flout drink driving laws.
The Drink Driving Campaign urges members of the public to do their part in tackling drink drivers through the country. Inspector Ian Martin, of the Police Scotland trunk road patrol group, said: ”I would urge everyone to continue providing the police with information so that we can detect drink and drug drivers and place them before the courts at the earliest opportunity.”
Stopped during the Drink Driving Campaign?
Drink driving charges are serious and punishable by a minimum 12 month driving ban, a large fine and in the most serious cases a custodial sentence. It is therefore vitally important that you do not take a chance. In Scotland, 70% of drink driving charges occur from ‘the morning after’ consumption of alcohol. Therefore if you plan to drive you should not drink alcohol in excess the previous evening. The drink driving campaign has already taught a number of people an unforgettable lesson: do not take the chance.
If you have been stopped during the drink driving campaign and charged it is important that you seek immediate expert legal help. To discuss your case with one of our solicitors visit www.roadtrafficlaw.com and fill out the contact form or call 0800 612 9597 to arrange a meeting now.
The penalty points system is an extremely important part of Road Traffic Law. Unfortunately the overwhelming majority of motorists do not actually know how the system works, and this lack of an understanding could place a motorists license in danger. The offences for which penalty points may be imposed can be found in Schedule 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. We will take a look at the penalty points system below: How many Live points do YOU have?
The Penalty Points System in Scotland
If you have committed an ‘endorsable’ road traffic offence where you have either; accepted the offer of a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), or have been found guilty in court, then you will have your license endorsed with penalty points. The three most common offences under the penalty points system are Speeding, Driving while using a Mobile Phone and Running a Red Light: in most of these charges a motorist will face a 3 Penalty Point endorsement and a 60 pounds fine.
We are often asked by clients how long do these points stay on their license for? Well this must be answered in two ways:
- The Penalty Points are valid from the date of incident and remain live on your license for 3 years.
- However these Penalty Points remain on your license for a total of 4 years. Although the Penalty Points are on your license during that fourth year they are not ‘live’ for the purposes of ‘totting up’.
Once the Penalty Points have been on an individual’s license for 4 years from the date of offence then they may apply to the DVLA to have these points removed from their license.
Now you understand the Penalty Points System, What Now?
It is important that any motorist on the road knows exactly how many points they have on their license, both ‘Live’ and otherwise. Penalty Point convictions must be disclosed to insurance companies (failure to do so can invalidate your policy – just when you really need it!) or you could well be just one ‘minor’ road traffic conviction away from losing your drivers license!
If you have been issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice, and are unsure where you stand: try to use our easy guide to work out the penalty points system and status of your license. If you are facing a Fixed Penalty then contact us for a Free Case Consultation: we can evaluate the merits of your case and see if you have a justifiable defence open to you. Visit www.roadtrafficlaw.com and fill out the contact form, or call 0800 612 9597 to speak to a member of the team now.