RE: Prior Convictions: Illegal driving acts

RE: Prior Convictions: Illegal driving acts

Friday 17th November 2017

Prior Convictions: Illegal driving acts

When it comes to legal technicalities, Matt P is your man



A promoted post appears on social media. These are usually quite irritating and this is no exception, but for a change, it's almost relevant to what I do: it's a quiz, from Halfords Autocentres, asking whether I think I would pass my driving test again now.

Ha. Of course, I would. Just like you would.


So I click on it. And the questions begin. How old are you? How long have you been driving? Oh God, this info is eventually going to make for an interminable press release, telling me old men are the worst drivers, isn't it? Already I dislike it.

Then it gets under way properly. "What is this switch?" Front fogs, obviously. Tick.

"What's the minimum legal tyre tread depth on a car?" 1.6mm, obviously. Tick.

A stopping distance question (wrong, but I can live with that; the correct answer, 12 car lengths in the wet from 30mph, is five times the distance we typically measure during Autocar's road tests), alcohol level (correct), a road sign (correct), and then:


"Which of these is an illegal act and could land you with a hefty penalty?"

Hmm. Is it: "Paying with a smartphone at a drive-through, eating while driving, or having an open bottle of beer in your car?"

Well. I dunno. A drive-through is private property. Eating while driving is probably fine in itself, although if you fail to keep proper control of your vehicle you'll be scuppered. And beer? I thought it was OK but I also think I heard a story once about not having open alcohol in a car, so, OK, beer it is.

The quiz says I'm wrong. The quiz says that using a phone while driving is illegal (which I know ) and that therefore I can be fined at a drive-through, which I don't believe, because it's private land, right?


Well, right, but here's where it all gets a bit iffy. There were a few stories on this subject in the tabloids earlier in the year about this but I'll admit they passed me by. A car park might well be private land but that doesn't mean the road traffic act doesn't apply because the law says it applies 'on a road or other public place'. Car parks, even though the land is owned by somebody else, generally come under that jurisdiction because you're welcome onto them. There was a post on PH a few years ago where two lads were fined for taking their seat belts off just prior to parking their car in Tesco's car park.

So the short of it is that, on that technicality, the quiz might be right.

But you're not actually going to get six points at Uncle Ronald's, are you, because how would that go in reality? At some point, it would have to be successfully argued that you were not properly parked, but by definition you are, otherwise - forget smartphones - all these years you could have been prosecuted for failing to keep proper control of your vehicle. 'Cos you shouldn't give and receive goods through an open window unless you're correctly parked.


But more importantly, it would have to be argued that you were in a public place, which, according to the Road Traffic Act, is a place "to which the public, or part thereof, have access". You might argue they do but isn't it implied that somewhere where you are engaged in a financial transaction is actually a very private place indeed? After all, "the onus is on the prosecution to establish that a particular location was a 'road' or 'other public place'". I don't imagine they'd manage it, or think it worth their while trying.

Unless what if? What if, while paying for a burger, a driver's foot slips off the clutch and they lurch into a pedestrian? You tell me below whether you think I'm right or wrong but might that bring the issue into rather sharper focus?

They say there's no such thing as a stupid question, but when it comes to quizzes, if it has no definitive answer, I'm inclined to disagree.

Author
Discussion

thunderpigeon

Original Poster:

84 posts

33 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
I would also argue that eating at the wheel is illegal also. I had a client who was given 3 points on her licence (an MS60 - Offences not covered by other codes (including offences relating to breach of requirements as to control of vehicle)) for eating an apple in a queue of traffic.

A Jobsworth officer I am sure, but I have heard of others having a polite conversation at the side of the road for eating/drinking while driving.

TheTyreAbuser

157 posts

32 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Weird one that. Even when your phone in this particular instance is actually just a proxy for a payment card. A contactless payment card is functioning in the same way as the phone in this instance, where you're using it as a medium for payment. The same would surely apply to cash.
Though I realise that actually their point would be that you're not allowed to hold a mobile phone in your hand at any point in a motor vehicle whilst the vehicle is being driven/operated by yourself, that just means it's not a specific enough law. Because you're paying for something with a method of legal tender, the fact that it's a mobile phone, should, be secondary to the fact.

Tough one, but interesting.

832ark

698 posts

90 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
TheTyreAbuser said:
Because you're paying for something with a method of legal tender, the fact that it's a mobile phone, should, be secondary to the fact.
I can’t imagine many people are trying to settle a debt using contactless payment from within their car.

mon the fish

907 posts

82 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
How many pedestrians wander through the drive-through? Is it not for cars only?

83AndyJ

103 posts

87 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Our local McD's has a pedestrian crossing of the end of the "drive-thru" lane. One failure of pedal control while making payment could put a pedestrian in your path very quickly...
Advertisement

Jbeale96

257 posts

29 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all


The offence for using a mobile while driving only applies while on a road - it does not apply anywhere else, regardless of access to the public.

You can of course still be done for driving without due care and attention if using a phone in a public place causes you to do so, but I very much doubt that it is possible to drive without due care and attention while paying for your McMuffin.

SWoll

6,915 posts

192 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
What an utterly pointless article. Are PH getting a bung for pushing web traffic in the direction of Halford's Autocenters?

VeeFource

840 posts

111 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
thunderpigeon said:
I would also argue that eating at the wheel is illegal also. I had a client who was given 3 points on her licence (an MS60 - Offences not covered by other codes (including offences relating to breach of requirements as to control of vehicle)) for eating an apple in a queue of traffic.

A Jobsworth officer I am sure, but I have heard of others having a polite conversation at the side of the road for eating/drinking while driving.
A jobsworth indeed, especially as I've seen his/her colleagues eating and drinking whilst waiting in a queue of traffic before!!!

Cold

5,184 posts

24 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Lots of illegal activity going on here, most likely including some phone use from inside one or more vehicles. Lock them all up?


Brompty

133 posts

78 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
The confusion appears to be 'reality' vs. what the question is asking. In short, if it looks like a road, then it's a road regardless of who 'owns' it. If there was a collision in the same car park or drive through it would still be a collision. Of course no one will be prosecuted for using a mobile to pay at a drive through, but they are still using the telephone while driving which is illegal.

Vipers

26,828 posts

162 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
The bit about using he phone whilst driving, (we assume it means NON hands free), it says its illegal.

IT ISNT if its an emergency call. That is posted further up the page, I used mine once when a truck on the M6 started loosing his load, and carried on oblivious, probably busy texting. biggrin

Bit like he Aviva one when it ask when can you enter a box junction - answer given is if you are intending to turn right and are prevented by oncoming traffic, thats only half the answer.

It never mentions you may enter if you intend to rurn right and another vehicle is on the box waiting to turn right also and is prevented by oncoming traffice.

Edited by Vipers on Friday 17th November 17:41


Edited by Vipers on Friday 17th November 17:42

Loyly

16,229 posts

93 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Drive through roads are still roads. If you can drive in and drive out of the drive thru lane, with no gated admission, you can bet that road traffic law applies. My mate in the local police force reports that the local McDonald's often catches drink drivers for them, a handy little snare.

spikyone

233 posts

34 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
mon the fish said:
How many pedestrians wander through the drive-through? Is it not for cars only?
I went to a McDonald's late at night, only to find the main restaurant closed, with a lone employee inside mopping the floor. I was starving (and possibly a little tipsy) so queued up behind a waiting car at the drive-thru. Judging by the employee inside - who by this point had put down his mop and was gesticulating like a madman in my direction - pedestrians are most certainly not welcome at the drive-thru.

Other fast food outlets may vary.

rtz62

1,501 posts

89 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Obviously there’s many things we (collectively) do whilst behind the wheel that can land us with either a fine, or a fayout in front of try local ‘beak’. And any fule no, ignorance of the law is no defence.
However.
And this really grinds my corn;
I was a Sgt in 5-0 and, as we know, cops issue tickets for idiots babbling on hand-held phones etc. We know that, right?
And as many of us also know, cop cars are equipped with PTT switches to activate the police radio (pity it didn’t activate Union Jack, or Radio 2 tbh!) usually on a stalk just behindhe steering wheel or on a ‘covert’ location (coughs, everyone knows it’s on the gear lever).
But, how many times do you see said fine, upstanding enforcers of the law gripping the mike on their stabproof vest whilst talking into it, rather than using the prescribed devices (which grants them exemption from prosecution)?
If I caught my boys n girls doing that, they had a warning, the next infraction we use be points on their Police driving permit and being made to use shanks’ pony for a week, etc etc.
Totally unacceptable (and yes, in the past I had done it myself) but what a wrong impression to give to the people who paid are wages.....
Rant over. For now...l

And172940

168 posts

82 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Hawaii 5-0 ?

thelawnet1

1,526 posts

89 months

Friday 17th November 2017
quotequote all
Jbeale96 said:


The offence for using a mobile while driving only applies while on a road - it does not apply anywhere else, regardless of access to the public.

You can of course still be done for driving without due care and attention if using a phone in a public place causes you to do so, but I very much doubt that it is possible to drive without due care and attention while paying for your McMuffin.
Actual law, cos that's not very useful:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2003/2695/regul...

"No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a road if he is using—

(a)a hand-held mobile telephone; or
(b)a hand-held device of a kind specified in paragraph (4)."

"(4) ... is a device, other than a two-way radio, which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data.
"

"For the purposes of this regulation—

a mobile telephone or other device is to be treated as hand-held if it is, or must be, held at some point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other interactive communication function;

"interactive communication function” includes the following:
(i)sending or receiving oral or written messages;
(ii)sending or receiving facsimile documents;
(iii)sending or receiving still or moving images; and
(iv)providing access to the internet;"

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/road-traffic-of...

"A phone or device will be in use where it is making or receiving a call, or performing any other interactive communication function whether with another person or not.

The particular use to which the mobile phone must be put is not defined as an element of the offence. The prosecution must merely prove that the phone or the other device was hand held by the person at some point during its use at a time when the person was driving a vehicle on a road."

'a road' includes (many but not all) private places of various descriptions http://www.jamesmurraylaw.com/motoring-law/what-is...

McDonalds drivethru is a road https://twitter.com/gmptraffic/status/837435516912...

McDonalds say 'we don't give a stuff about the law, good luck if you get pulled by the police' https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/785705/M...

406dogvan

5,272 posts

199 months

Saturday 18th November 2017
quotequote all
The problem with "what is illegal in a car" is that outside of some specific offenses setup to enable "on the spot fines" (speeding, phone use etc.), everything else you do as a driver is left to the view of the Police at the time (Road Traffic Act/Highway Code etc.)

That said - just because the Highway Code says it's wrong doesn't automatically make it illegal - parking on the pavement would be illegal if that were true and it's not so there's that.

The open bottle of beer is clearly bullst tho - if you pass the breathlyser it's meaningess and if you don't they don't need other proof!?

The private land/drive-thru thing is interesting because I spotted cars in a private shopping centre car park that had been clamped for non-payment of roadtax. They were CLEARLY on private land (signs everything telling you this - 3 hour limit etc.) and yet they were clamped (and so would be getting parking fines as well as the car tax one!)

I hate those questionaries tho - indeed the whole line of questioning they use in these tests because it's loaded-as-hell and often not entirely right IMO




rtz62

1,501 posts

89 months

Saturday 18th November 2017
quotequote all
And172940 said:
Hawaii 5-0 ?
Lol! If only!
Mind you, my understanding of the effects of drugs and driving over there suggests I’d have been very busy....

big_rob_sydney

2,115 posts

128 months

Saturday 18th November 2017
quotequote all
Laws can't cover every single possibility, so they set broad ones quite often, and then leave it up to various parties to see how far they can be applied to any given new eventuality that hadn't occurred.

This is one of the reason we have lawyers; if everything had already been decided, you wouldn't need to argue back and forth.

I think part of your question is more around what you perceive seems like common sense but that perhaps a law may exist which crosses your view. This happens all the time, and we often hear people say "I knew the law was meant to be blind, but I didn't know she was meant to be dumb, too".

st happens. Move on.

ging84

5,232 posts

80 months

Saturday 18th November 2017
quotequote all
Technically even a contactless credit card definitely falls within the definition of
(4) A device referred to in paragraphs (1)(b), (2)(b) and (3)(b) is a device, other than a two-way radio, which performs an interactive communication function by transmitting and receiving data.

Arguably even a chip and pin card transaction does, as it does not actually specify that the transmitting and receiving data needs to be done wirelessly.

And if you want to take this carzyiness to it's extreme, am i holding my steering wheel when i use it to transmitted a cruise control change input to the ecu ?


And as for your foot might slip of the clutch while paying, isn't that far more likely to happen with cash while trying to fumble with coins and notes as you pay and get change.