Category Archives: Law

Looking for updates on Driving Law ? This category has all the latest news and articles relevant to things like road safety changes and rules of the road.

The Dangers Of Drink Driving

FACT: Out of the 500,000 breath tests carried out on suspected drunk drivers each year, 100,000 of them are over the legal drink limit. Do you know the dangers of drink driving and the consequences?

How Does Alcohol Affect Driving?

After drinking alcohol, your brain starts to work inefficiently. In simple terms, your brain begins to slow down which consequently affects your coordination and takes longer to receive and process information that your senses, such as your eyes send to it. This affects your lane discipline causing you to swerve in the road or slow down your reaction time to an oncoming car. Furthermore, your ability to see at night will fall by up to 25%, making more difficult to concentrate on what is ahead of you. Drink driving can decrease your speed awareness, making it easier to lose control of the vehicle.

Legal Drink Driving limits

So there are many things to take into consideration when examining someone who has been drinking, their body mass for example as everyone is different. Even your gender and rate of metabolism can affect the way alcohol influences you.

Therefore, the current UK law regarding the alcohol limits are:

Driving Alcohol Limit
Image credit to the GOV.UK website.

Although there are alcohol limits, it can be tricky to guess how many drinks a person can consume before they are over the limit. The type of alcohol, percentage and strength are all aspects that are taken into account, so to be safe, it is always recommended to cut out drinking as a whole if you also plan to drive.

Drink Driving Penalties

A former pupil, John Hutchinson, was taking his driving lesson in the Goodmayes area with us and recently passed. Just three weeks after he gained his licence, he was caught driving under the influence of alcohol. John has since called us up for guidance and asked what the consequences will be; we explained the following:

Penalties differ depending on the situation and severity in which you are caught under the influence of alcohol, these are:

Caught In Charge Of A Vehicle – 3 months in prison, maximum of a £2,500 fine and may face a driving ban.

Caught Driving/Attempting To Drive – 6 months in prison, an unlimited fine and a ban of a minimum of one year.

Refusal To Take A Breathalyzer Test – 6 months in prison, an unlimited fine and a one-year driving ban.

Causing Death Through Drink Driving – 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, minimum of a two-year driving ban and you must take an extended test before you can drive again.

In some cases, you may be given the opportunity to reduce your 12-month or more driving ban if you agree to take part in a drink-drive rehabilitation scheme course. Whether you have the chance to take this is in the hands of the court, and it will have to be paid for out of your own pocket.

Talking on the Phone and Driving

Our instructor Ian Carlton has over 15 years of experience in many areas such as Northampton, Kettering and Wellingborough. He has experienced the ever-growing issue of talking on the phone and driving, so we asked him to give us his view on the issue:

“I understand that living in 2018 would be hard without your phone, no matter where you go; you can be sure to see the majority people with their iPhone in their hand. I see pupils eager to get back on their phone as soon as they finish their lessons. I continuously try to highlight the importance of leaving your phone out of sight while driving as not only are you putting your life at risk, but you are putting innocent drivers in great danger. As a driving instructor, I am on the roads for a huge chunk of my day, and I still can’t believe the endless amount of drivers I see on their phone!”

What Happens If You Get Caught On Your Phone While Driving?

Since late 2003, it has been illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and over the years the penalties have become increasingly severe. The penalty for being caught on your mobile while driving doubled in 2017, meaning that you will now be faced with a minimum of a £200 fine and six points on your driving licence.

For new drivers in their first two years of driving, six points are the maximum amount that you can have on your licence meaning that your licence will be taken away if you are caught using your mobile phone while driving.

When Can You Use Your Phone While Driving?

The use of mobile phone is not prohibited if the method is through a hands-free device. You must set up the equipment before you set off, so there will be no need for you to handle the device while driving. Although, it is legal to use a hands-free phone, if the police suspect that your driving is being distracted due to this, they are still legally able to pull you over and question you.

A mobile phone can also be used if it is needed for navigation as a sat-nav, however similarly to hands-free, it must be fully set up before you drive. The phone must be in a fixed position throughout the journey in a place which can clearly be seen while driving without the need to have to adjust or hold the device at any point.

A hand-held mobile phone can only be used if you are parked in a safe area away from traffic, this does not include when you are stopped at traffic lights. The only circumstance where you would be allowed to use a hand help device is if it is a genuine, serious emergency where you have to call 999, and there is no safe place to stop the car.

Driver Using His Phone Whilst Driving

Why Is Talking On The Phone And Driving So Dangerous?

We spoke to Amaar Mohammed, who is part of our driving school franchise, also in the Northampton area about his opinion on the seriousness of using a handheld mobile while driving.

“Talking or texting on your phone will distract you. I try to emphasise the facts to my pupils, that they are four times more likely to crash by talking on the phone. This statistic is quite shocking; I don’t think people realise the seriousness of the offence. Not only that, but your reaction time is affected more than someone who has been drinking and driving at the legal limit. A campaign has now begun to show young drivers the reality of car crashes in Northampton; stressing the consequences of being negligent on the road by doing things such as talking on the phone while driving.”

Taking Selfies While Driving

Dangers of Mobile Phone Use and Driving

Over the last 5 years you have probably seen a few gory videos emphasising the dangers of texting whilst driving. Just watch the video on the right for a taster.

The latest trend is posting selfies whilst driving on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Over 3 million people have posted pictures of themselves tagging #driving #drivinghome #drivingselfie #drivingtowork.

Over the last 3 years, rear end shunt car accidents have also risen in the UK by 7% (According to Accident Exchange) which is believable when people are taking the risk of posing for a camera shot or video whilst driving.

Insurance companies average paying out £2000 for every rear end shunt car accident claim.


taking selfies while driving

Unfortunately, In April 2014 it wasn’t just a rear end shunt accident claim for ‘Courtney Sanford’. The picture you see on the right was taken moments before she was involved in a head on collision with a recycling truck. She had taken the picture and just uploaded it to Facebook saying how happy she was, seconds before losing her car position and hitting a recycling truck coming the other way.


Even if the above story doesn’t bother you, please bare in mind the legal consequences.

If you are caught on your phone whilst driving you will receive:

• 3 Points on your licence

• £100 fine

If you are a new driver, you need just 6 points on your licence within the first two years to be disqualified.

Also, any points issued on your licence will also mean your insurance premium will go up the following year. For young drivers it’s expensive enough. So, if you don’t care about dying or killing others, then at least bare in mind the financial consequences and the inconvenience of losing your licence.


One of our pupils ‘Callum Darton’ who took his driving lessons in Maidstone and passed first time recently got disqualified as he received 6 points within the first 6 months of learning to drive. He received 3 points for doing 35 in 30 in an area he didn’t know and recently he was caught texting whilst driving. ‘Callum’ who passed with just 5 minors said “I regret it big time, It’s just a shame i’ve had to learn the hard way. Even when I get my licence back, I probably won’t be able to afford the insurance”.





The Latest Consequences of Careless Driving

Always Drive Safely…

The Department of transport have announced new measures to tackle careless driving today. The new laws were announced by Stephen Hammond who is the road safety minister.


Police now have the power to issue fixed penalties for the following minor offences which were often ignored:


1. Lane hogging: This means using an overtaking lane but not actually making progress and overtaking someone.


tailgating2. Tailgating: This means following too close and not keeping the appropriate stopping distance. Anything above 40mph in dry conditions, the two second rule should be applied.

These two offences may seem quite lame, but they are the cause of many accidents especially on motorways and dual carriageways. Drivers often get very frustrated with the person in front who isn’t making the appropriate progress and then take a risk and get too close or try to undertake.


With the new laws in place a following police car could actually fine both drivers. One for hogging and the other for following too close. A fixed penalty will be issued, however the driver will have the option of choosing an educational course instead. The fine will be £100 and 3 points on the licence, so it’s worth doing the course or even better don’t drive carelessly. Obviously this increases the chances of road users who are new on the road of losing their licence. Only 6 points is required within the first two years to lose your driving licence. After the ban, more driving lessons will be required and a re-test.


Suzette Davenport who is a chief constable said the following “We said we would get tougher on those road users who make our roads increasingly more dangerous and that is what we have done.”


These changes should be implemented by the government by July 2013.


Anthony Johnson the owner of driveJohnson’s said the following “The sooner this law is implemented and the sooner the police start taking action against people hogging lanes/ following too close the better. So many accidents occur because of vehicles following too close. It doesn’t get you to where you are going any quicker. Following too close can often intimidate the driver in front and cause them to panic or rush their decision making which in turn can result in them braking too heavy or changing lanes without applying the MSPSL routine thoroughly. One thing I really try to emphasise to my pupils when I am conducting their driving lessons in Milton Keynes is the following distances. Anything over 40mph the two second rule should be applied. If your doing 30mph then it’s 6 car lengths. Remember these all double in the rain and can increase up to 10 times in the ice/snow”.

Check out the typical stopping distances chart to see how the thinking distance and braking distance affects the overall stopping distance.


stopping distances



If you have any questions about careless driving, stopping distances or any other driving matter, then please feel free to leave a comment and we will get back to you.