Dangerous Driving: Driving with no wheels

Dangerous Driving Law: Is it illegal to drive a car without a wheel?

Vehicle Stopped for Driving Without a Wheel 

Police have previously stopped a motorist for driving a car with its front tyre completely missing. The front panel on the driver’s side was also missing with what appeared to be leads or cables trailing along the road behind it.  

Officers stopped the vehicle in Pembrokeshire and it was confirmed that the vehicle had no insurance and that it’s MOT had also expired, possibly making it one of the most illegal vehicles on the road! 

Dyfed-Powys Roads Policing Unit said the driver had a valid driving licence and confirmed that “…yes, it was being driven in that condition on public roads”. 

Everyone is aware of the offence of dangerous driving however not all motorists are familiar with exactly what constitutes the offence. 

The Motoring Offence of Dangerous Driving 

Dangerous Driving is defined in the Road Traffic Act 1988 which states that a driver is to be regarded as driving dangerously if the way he drives falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver. 

This part of the Act specifically relates to the manner of driving and examples of driving that is dangerous is car racing on public roads or dangerous manoeuvres. The threshold for dangerous driving is very high and the offence is much more serious than that of careless driving which is viewed in a similar, fact-based manner. 

The Act goes on to say however that dangerous driving also exists in instances when it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that the vehicle in its current state would be dangerous. 

This gives the offence a different angle as the standard of driving could be perfect but if the vehicle is in a condition that is considered dangerous then they face the same charges and significant penalties as someone speed racing around a residential estate.  

The Penalty for Dangerous Driving 

Dangerous driving is one of the most serious allegations a motorist can face and unlike most road traffic offences, dangerous driving is classed as an “either-way” offence. This means that the case can be heard in either the Magistrates or Crown Court depending on how serious it is and the respective powers of sentencing in each court differs greatly. 

The more serious cases will be escalated to the Crown Court which has greater powers and you could face up to two years in prison. If it is decided that your case should remain in the magistrates’ court then the maximum penalty the court can impose is 12 months imprisonment and a 2-year disqualification. This decision is not always in your hands yet the venue is hugely significant due to the disparity in the sentencing powers of each court. 

Dangerous driving also results in the court ordering an extended re-test before you are able to drive again. Unlike in cases of drink driving for example where the motorist can drive upon expiration of the disqualification, dangerous drivers have to undergo an extensive driving test before their driving privileges are reinstated.  There are also ongoing talks for penalties for this offence to be increased significantly particularly if the driving results in a fatality. 

Whatever the reason this motorist drove without a wheel, he now faces very severe consequences. So in summary, if any of you readers are wondering:  No, you cannot drive your vehicle without its wheels ….. so please don’t. 

This article was written by top London based Motoring Lawyer, Neil Sargeant 

 

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