I noticed in the national press last weekend that prosecutions for driving “without due care and attention ” seem to be on the increase. Obviously as a motoring lawyer this statistic attracted my attention, but the offence has been around a long time and I was curious about the sudden upturn in prosecutions.
Why should this be? Have our standards of driving dramatically dropped in recent years? Alternatively, are police forces up and down the country suddenly becoming more vigilant?
The answer to these questions, I believe, lies in the nature of these offences.People have been prosecuted for reading whilst driving, eating cereal at the wheel, and various other odd activities inside their cars.
But how are the police finding out what people are doing when they are driving? After all, most of the time while we are in our cars we are on our own, and there are no witnesses if we choose to look at the A-Z,or fiddle with our iPod.
It seems however that this recent spike in prosecutions has been caused by the proliferation of CCTV cameras, and of course the growing use of dash mounted cameras (dash cams). I have dealt with two cases in the last six months where dash cam footage from another motorist has been crucial to the police prosecution, and I think as time goes by I will see more and more cases like this.
So I think the moral of the story is obvious. We now have to be even more careful than before not to engage in other activities whilst we are driving because even a momentary lapse of concentration is now much more likely to be caught on CCTV and lead to prosecution.