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Thread: The law and the motorist

  1. #1
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    Default The law and the motorist

    Imagine this scenario:

    Mr. X has two sons and they borrow his car for the evening. Both sons are insured to drive the car, so either one could take the wheel.

    Rather stupidly, the lads stop off for a couple of drinks. On the way home they were involved in an accident: A drunken man wandered into the road and was hit by the car. It was not their fault, but because they had had a drink, they decided not to stop and hope for the best.

    However, someone witnessed the “hit and run” and noted the registration no. of the vehicle and reported it to the police.

    The next day Mr. X received a visit from CID and they questioned him about who was driving the vehicle at 11pm the previous night. Mr. X answered that it would have been one of his sons, but he did not know which one.

    The sons chose to remain silent and the police did not have any further clues as to who was driving.

    Do you think that Mr. X should be prosecuted for this offence?

    I would imagine that no sane person in the land would answer ‘yes’ to this question.

    Why is it then, that if the lads had simply been caught by a speed camera, Mr. X would have to take the penalty if he did not know who was driving?

    This is surely against all the principles of British justice, or is it a case of “One rule for one, and one rule for the motorist?”

    Discuss.

  2. #2
    Regular Member anthonychall's Avatar
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    I would say that Mr X could be prosecuted if he didn't comply with the information as to who was driving the vehicle at 11pm, but he did.

    The police should further question the two son's as to which was driving and why did they leave the scene of an accident.

    There should be no way in justice Mr X would be prosecuted as he has complied, as with the speed camera the scenario you gave would suggest he wouldn't tell/know who was driving through the speed camera.

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    Unfortunatly the law surrounding veichles is a tad..."shady", if thats the right word. The onus is on the Registered Kepper to be accountable for their veichle.

    Mr X should not be prosecuted for the offence, however if he showed "reasonable diligance" in trying to identify the driver at the time, he wouldnt be. He would however, have to go to court and prove this.

    I went out for a late night drive a few nights ago, and ended up behind a marked police car, i witnessed some of the worse driving ive ever seen, the driver was speeding excessivly, used his blue lights to go through 4 red lights, turning corners at speed, he was all over the place. I wonder what would of happened if i was driving like that and he was behind me?

    Matt

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    Regular Member anthonychall's Avatar
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    Did you follow him through the red lights? You must of to see 4 different sets

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    Regular Member BoroDave74's Avatar
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    hmm principles?

    If people had principles there would be no discussion as there would be no exceeding the speed limit, and no "hit and run" either!

    The speed camera loophole that used to exist allowed people to "get off" with breaking the law by saying they didn't know who was driving. So the burden of proof is on the registered keeper of the car to prove they were not driving at the time of an offence.
    It works that way with credit cards, you don't lend that out to anyone do you? You know where it is don't you? If it gets stolen, it is accepted you have no liability for it, but you are expected to report it as stolen as soon as possible, making you responsible for it.

    So yup insane am I. By all means discuss a better law for preventing drink driving, running over innocent pedestrians, lying to Police Officers, speeding and trying to cover it up with "I don't know who is responsible for my car".

    Equally interesting is how people will justify its ok to run over a drunk, but replace "A drunken man wandered" with "A toddler wandered". Would the sons still drive off, is it still not their fault?

    Ideally - we wouldn't even dream it was acceptable to leave the scene of an accident, so I feel both sons should be prosecuted as they have, by the act itself, left the scene, and the father as the owner of the weapon.
    Any chance that might make the driver own up?

  6. #6
    Regular Member m8internet's Avatar
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    Default

    I believe that for the "hit and run" example above, the CPS / PFS would probably drop the case due to insufficient evidence
    However, they could proceed and prosecute the registered keeper and both named drivers on the hope that in court further evidence appears (this happens in Scotland, but in court if there is further evidence then the inoccent parties are then acquitted on completion, it has been known for the guilty person to crumble in front of a sherrif!)
    Equally, with the amount of CCTV coverage in the UK identifying a driver is so much easier now, and that would be anywhere along the route travelled
    However, I believe this requires at least one positive sighting before the incident AND one after, to esnure the driver is the same person throughout

    Speed Camera offences are therefore similar and as earlier it is the registered keepers due diligence to keep a reasonable record or knowledge of who is driving

    However there is a distinct difference in "what is in the public interest", between prosecuting for speeding and a "hit and run"

    As for the police speeding, this depends on the type of vehicle and the drivers training, as well as the type of incident
    A police car passing through red lights with blue lights is quite normal, providing the driver treats the junction as a give way
    Equally, most traffic cars will be able to accelerate through quite violently, and the drivers are trained to take the vehicle, conditions, and themselves to the limit (where appropriate)
    If you've seen "Road Wars" where Rosie is following a black Audi A8, which then appears to stop, then boots it, and they give chase, at one point at nearly 100mph in a 30mph zone
    If you had been following that, then you would have seen the car in oversteer at one point (and I am sure the camera mans head hits the window at the point!)

    Strathclyde Police came in for similar criticism a few years ago, however two high speed accidents in 1999 resulted in a major review of procedures
    In one accident, at 135mph, the Police car was shown not be showing blue lights, the passenger (observing officer) died when they struck a HGV
    The second was where the Police car suffered a tyre failure, and again struck an innocent motorist, but this was impact was at between 40 and 50mph
    In 2002 the review included removal of motorway testing
    Last edited by m8internet; 19th September 2009 at 08:14.

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    I should think if the law meant that both brothers were prosicuted they would soon decide who was driving! The driver would not foget hitting a person!!!

  8. #8
    Regular Member m8internet's Avatar
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    It would not be possible under "the law" to prosecute both brothers though
    There is no limit on the number of people that can be charged with the offence, but once the evidence had been heard only the relevant people can be sentenced
    If the evidence is insufficient then either the defendants would be acquitted or found "not quilty"
    However, if the evidence is sufficient to show that both people may have been driving then they both may be found guilty, even though it is impossible for one of them to have been driving
    Quirky, but completely possible

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    Default

    And also unfortunately if we can't prove who was driving we can't prosecute the other car occupant with aiding and abetting. However, whilst it may not be possible to prove who was driving they did both leave the scene of the accident which is also an offence isn't it?

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