March 5, 2020
It was reported this week that a colossal 12 taxi drivers were spotted in just two hours utilising their mobile phones whilst on duty. Undercover police from West Yorkshire hid on buses with body-worn video devices to note offenders who were then reported to officers on the road ahead. Those caught during the operation became at risk of prosecution which could result in fines or points added to their license, as per the legal procedure.
Another recently reported mobile offence caused confusion when a taxi driver was charged with phone use while driving and the charge was contested by fellow cabbies, who voiced concern in exactly what this meant for interacting with their taxi booking apps that they work from while driving. Questions such as whether touching a phone to accept a fare via an app would result in a charge were asked by several of the 100k+ private hire drivers in London, who rely on such technology to do their jobs. The transport division of the Met Police issued an official statement to announce that charges “depend purely on the circumstances/situation”, which has unfortunately not made the cabbies any clearer on the official rules of mobile use.
So just what are some of the lesser-known rules of the road? We have compiled some driving offences you might not be aware of in the list below.
Sleeping in your car while intoxicated
You wouldn’t consider driving when you’ve had a few too many but don’t think about sleeping off in your car either – you could find yourself facing ‘a drunk in charge’ fine!
Flashing your lights to give way to other drivers
You should only consider flashing your headlights to warn drivers and not to allow them to pass in front of you as this could result in an accident and could be considered an offence.
Overtaking at a pedestrian crossing
You should not overtake a stationary vehicle stopped at a crossing as they could be hiding someone crossing the road. This could result in a serious accident.
Letting an animal out of the vehicle on the hard shoulder
Even if you and your four-legged friend end up broken down on the side of the road, The Highway Code states under rule 275, “You MUST leave any animals in the vehicle or in an emergency keep them under proper control on the verge.” If your animal causes an accident while on the hard shoulder this could result in a driving offence.
Parking at night on the wrong side of the road
Another one from the Highway Code, under rule 248- if you choose to park on the wrong side of the road your headlight could dazzle other drivers and cause an accident. This is also dangerous as your rear car lights will not be visible to oncoming traffic.
Using a mobile phone to navigate
This offence comes under mobile phone law which clearly states that you cannot use a mobile phone as a sat nav unless it’s in a fixed position – for example, fixed to the windscreen or dashboard securely. The phone MUST not obstruct the driver’s view of the road!
Parking near a junction
Did you know it’s an offence to park within 10 metres of a junction as it could obstruct the view of oncoming traffic?
Driving on the pavement
Rule 244 of the Highway code means you cannot drive on the pavement unless you’re pulling into a driveway. In London, it’s also illegal to park on the pavement!
Using your horn
Taxi drivers commonly toot their horns to advise customer they are waiting, however, this is considered a driving offence in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30pm and 7am so be sure to check the time before doing so!