Top 5 ways the Autumn Statement will Affect Motorists:

Lord Chancellor Philip Hammond has given his Autumn Statement to parliament. This is how it will affect drivers:

1. The fuel duty rise had been cancelled for the seventh year in a row meaning that the average car driver could be saving £130 a year and the average van driver saving £350 a year.

2. Insurance Premium is being raised from 10% to 12% from next June however according to Chancellor Hammond new legislation being brought out in 2017 to end compensation culture will save an average of £40 a year in insurance Premium.

3. £1.1 billion is going to be spent on English local transport networks, with £200 million set to be spent on traffic pinch spots on strategic roads and £300 million on the development of low emission and autonomous vehicles. This includes more electric vehicle charging points.

4. Cuts to salary sacrifice schemes have been made resulting in employees who are switching salary for benefits now having to pay the same tax as the majority of other individuals who have bought cars after post tax income.

5. However these cuts to salary sacrifice schemes won’t affect those with ultra-low emission vehicles with CO2 emissions below 75g/km.

Article Written by Leah Nelson

How to cut the cost of your vehicle insurance

Last month, our Managing Director, Alison Ashworth went into the BBC Lancashire Studio to discuss the price of vehicle insurance live on air with presenter, Graham Liver.

This comes as it was announced that the North West has the highest cost of car insurance in mainland Britain according to the AA’s National Index.

A number of factors could be to blame for the increased cost.

As outlined on air, one of the reasons is the high proportion of so called cash for crash schemes operating in the North West area, with Bolton and Oldham identified as the worst hit areas of the UK.

What is cash for crash?

Cash for crash is the term given to an accident which is deliberately caused for the purpose of financial gain. These schemes include instances where the fraudster would drive a vehicle and slam on the breaks, giving the innocent motorist behind little to no chance of avoiding the inevitable crash. The fraudster would then go on to claim for personal injury, vehicle damage, loss of earnings, a hire car etc. The list goes on.

It is thought that one in seven personal injury claims are associated with a cash for crash scheme.

Statistically, these schemes cost the insurance industry over £400 million per year, with an additional £50 being added on to the cost of every motor insurance policy every year.

How can we bring down the cost of our vehicle insurance?

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Install a device to monitor your driving

Many insurers now recognise the benefits of installing a blackbox type device or camera to monitor your driving and provide evidence in liability disputes.

Companies such as K-safe and Joovuu offer such devices and have revolutionised the way that fault is attributed in accidents.

Bikers – K-safe

“K-Safe have developed MiBB, a wearable sensor that provides automatic monitoring and analysis of incidents. MiBB covers a wide range of industries and activities including but not limited to motorcyclists, cyclists, snowboarders and skiers. Our sensor is able to integrate with existing claims management solutions, provide quicker medical assistance (reducing complexity/severity of injuries and therefore cost per claim) and provide end-users with lower insurance premiums through selected insurance partners.” Aaron Lloyd; Chief Operating Officer of K-safe.

Cars – JooVuu X

“The JooVuu X is a camera that captures the truth every time you drive.  With its discreet design but powerful hardware, the JooVuu X can be mounted anywhere within your car and capture everything in crystal clear quality, day or night.  The JooVuu X is the perfect dash camera to help you fight against fraudulent car insurance claims and bad drivers.  It is the best eye-witness money can buy.” Daniel Jaenicke; Chief Executive of JooVuu X.

Shop around

Never accept the renewal offer from your insurer without first obtaining quotes from competitors to see whether you could be getting a better deal.

Pay upfront

Paying your insurance annually can net you on average savings over £60. It also reduces the risks of you being charged with an offence such as driving without insurance by lessening the chance of you missing a monthly payment.

Increase your excess

Increasing the amount that you’d be willing to pay out when making a claim can significantly decrease the overall cost of your vehicle insurance quote. Work out what you can afford and adjust your policy accordingly.

Decrease your added extras

Most insurance policies include a range of optional extras such as windscreen, breakdown and legal cover. Restricting the number of added extras on your policy can really help to bring the cost of the policy down.

Build up a lengthy period of no claims bonus

In short, the longer the period of no claims bonus, the cheaper the policy will be. No reasonable driver ever really wants to be involved in an accident. Staying alert at all times and driving cautiously will reduce your risk of having an accident and will reduce the cost of your annual premium.

Keep a clean licence

It’s no secret that penalty points mean an increase in insurance premiums. Take the time to read about some of the more common motoring offences on this site and stick to the law. If you’ve been caught out and are offered the opportunity to avoid the points by attending a course then take it. You will thank yourself when it comes time for your renewal.

Take care over your job description

There are strange but significant discrepancies when it comes to the quotes associated with certain professions.

For example, describing yourself as a Chef could cost you £98 more than being “kitchen staff”, and classing yourself as “full time parent” or “retired” rather than “unemployed” could save you almost £300.

If your job could fit into more than one of the descriptions offered by the insurance provider, run checks for each applicable job type.

Article written by Specialist Motoring Lawyer, Alison Ashworth; Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law.

Why we do what we do

At Ashworth motoring law we are dedicated to keeping drivers on the road. We believe that no driver’s licence should be placed in jeopardy due to a lack of legal or technical knowledge. That’s why we’re always striving to deliver relevant, current content to keep you up to date with issues that could affect your freedom to drive.

We know the devastating impact that a disqualification from driving could have on a person’s life, career and family. It’s from that understanding that we fight to save the driving licences of motorists throughout the Country, to ensure that no person is disqualified where a valid defence or judicial discretion is available.

If you have been accused of committing a motoring offence and would like to discuss your case in confidence with a specialist motoring law solicitor call 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk. Our expert solicitors will listen to the details of your case and let you know instantly if your licence could be saved.

 

Ashworth Motoring Law celebrates phenomenal month

It’s been a busy month here at Ashworth Motoring Law and October has been one our best yet!

Ashworth Motoring Law on BBC TV

The Month began with our Managing Director, Alison Ashworth featuring on BBC’S Inside Out Programme discussing the new Drug Driving Offence and raising awareness of the very low limits that are applicable to drugs of abuse. The programme aired on Monday 03 October 2016 following over two hours of filming in September at the Law Society in London.

Month Long campaign for Tyre Safety

October was National Tyre Safety Month. As a Law Firm who keeps road safety firmly in mind, we ran a month-long campaign to increase awareness of basic tyre checks, promote free tyre health checks and educate drivers of the potential sentence for driving on defective tyres.

Managing Director Shortlisted as a Finalist for Prestigious Award

Our very own Alison Ashworth has been shortlisted as one of four finalists in the prestigious Rossendale Business Awards for the “Enterprising Woman Award”. The awards ceremony will be held at Riverside, Whitworth, Rossendale, Lancashire on Wednesday 09 November 2016.

Back to school

Directors Colette Ashworth and Alison Ashworth went back to their roots to give a talk to the Students of their old Law School. With a focus on gaining the best out of their education, expanding their professional network and overcoming adversity, Colette and Alison sought to encourage and inspire the next generation of Lawyers.

Interns take centre stage

This month saw nine new interns given the once in a lifetime opportunity to gain experience at our leading law firm. With interns from Manchester Metropolitan University and The University Centre at Blackburn College taking up positions in computing, accounting, law, marketing and legal management, the next few months are set to be an exciting time at our growing firm.

Ashworth Motoring Law on BBC Radio

Towards the end of the month, our Alison Ashworth was invited into the BBC Radio Lancashire studio to discuss the increasing cost of car insurance live on air, speaking to breakfast show presenter Graham Liver on 27 October 2016. Since the show, Ashworth Motoring Law have begun working with North West based K-safe and Joovuu to bring down the cost of vehicle insurance around the North West and beyond.

….And of course, we still haven’t lost a case!

Ashworth Motoring Law is a Highly Specialised National Law Firm which focuses solely on representing drivers who are facing the possible loss of their driving licence. To discuss any motoring offence in confidence and find out whether your licence can be saved, call our mobile friendly helpline on 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk for free initial advice.

Listen again to Ashworth Motoring Law live on BBC Radio Lancashire

This week, Specialist Driving Offence Solicitor and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law, Alison Ashworth featured live on BBC Radio Lancashire discussing  the cost of vehicle insurance.

Did you know that the North West has the highest cost of car insurance in mainland Britain?

The feature included a discussion on the high rates of cash for crash schemes currently operating in the North West which cause our premiums to rise year on year, and considers what we can do to reduce the cost of our annual premium.

To listen again to the show click the following link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p049y269

The feature on the costs of car insurance begins at 02.11.35 in the clip.

bbc-radio-lancashire

Ashworth Motoring Law is a Highly Specialised National Law Firm which focuses solely on representing drivers who are facing the possible loss of their driving licence. To discuss any motoring offence in confidence and find out whether your licence can be saved, call our mobile friendly helpline on 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk for free initial advice.

Halloween specific driving offences – Trick or Treat!

It’s that time of year again, the time when haunters and howlers come out to play, killer clowns are on the loose and big kids dress up and going to parties.

Here are at Ashworth Motoring Law we have a few tips to keep you on the right side of the law this Halloween.

But what to wear?

For some, a pair of horns or a cat’s tail will do. Others however like to go the whole hog and think of more and more inventive costumes every year (and why shouldn’t you! It’s Halloween!).  A word of caution though – if you plan on getting into your carefully planned outfit before driving to the party, you must ensure that your outfit allows you a clear view of the road before you start your journey.  If not, it may be a pretty awesome costume but could land you with an unexpected award for the efforts you made.

Being caught with a white sheet over your head with two cut out holes for your eyes, or wearing any kind of mask which restricts your view of the road and traffic ahead could land you not only with some funny looks from your mates, but if caught by the ‘devils in blue’ could land you with three points on your driving licence and a fine of up to £1000 for failing to have a proper view of the road.

Under  S41 D Road Traffic Act 1988 A person who contravenes or fails to comply with a construction and use requirement—

(a)as to not driving a motor vehicle in a position which does not give proper control or a full view of the road and traffic ahead, or not causing or permitting the driving of a motor vehicle by another person in such a position is guilty of an offence….

So to put it simply if you can’t see the road you could end up seeing 3 points and a fine.

boo-not-in-propper-control-of-vehicle

Beware the witches brew and wizard’s magic dust…

At a Halloween party, you may be tempted to try some witches brew and wizards dust. (or punch, to the less magically minded of us).

Not surprisingly, the magical potions which you may be possessed into “sampling” could be more evil than you think, it could contain a horrifying amount of alcohol. Just one glass could contain several units of alcohol.

The truth is that in most cases, you simply don’t know what you’re drinking. As a general rule of thumb, if you haven’t made it, or bought it in licensed premises then it’s always best to stay well clear, or order a ride on a magic broomstick (taxi) back home after the magical evening. Otherwise, even Harry’s invisibility cloak won’t let you hide from the ‘blue devils’, and once they get hold of you there’s no magic spell that can reverse your bad decisions. This could therefore lead to a consequence even more frightful than the hangover which will surely follow: a conviction for drink driving.

The UK drink drive limit is 35mg in breath, 80mg in blood or 107mg in urine. Unfortunately, there is no ‘magic number’ for how much alcohol you can drink before you reach these limits. There are too many unknown quantities: your height, your weight, the rate at which the alcohol is absorbed into your system, and certainly in the case of the witch’s brew, the strength of the alcohol that you’re consuming.

Even more hellish is the mandatory minimum twelve month disqualification which would be imposed if convicted of drink driving. With this in mind, is the party punch really worth the risk of the loss of your licence.

As for the wizard’s magic dust… the levels are even stricter. A limit of just 10mg of cocaine per litre of blood could see you convicted for drug driving, leading to an automatic disqualification for a minimum of 12 months, a fine of up to £5000 and a prison sentence of up to 6 months. Cannabis is even more of a devil’s advocate with the limit set at just 2mg of THC per litre of blood, with the same punishment applicable.

wizards-dust

Ghosts, and what to do if you see one…

If on your way to the haunted venue you spot a poltergeist or one of the killer clowns this Halloween (whether in your car or on the road), keep calm and keep your eyes on the road! Panicking and driving like the ‘ghost busters’ rushing to trap the ghost and performing aggressive manoeuvres could end in a conviction for careless driving (for which you would receive 3-9 horrifying points) or worse, a conviction for dangerous driving (for which you would receive at least a 12 month driving ban, be made to sit a devilish extended re-test and could even be sent to prison for up to two of the most haunting years of your life!

ghostbuster

Guest article by Robert Andrews

Happy Halloween from Ashworth Motoring Law!

For more information about the offences mentioned in this blog, or for help defending your right to drive if it is threatened by a motoring prosecution, you can call our mobile friendly helpline on 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk for FREE initial advice. We are always happy to hear from you.

 

Ashworth Motoring Law live on BBC Radio Lancashire

Expert Motoring Lawyer and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law, Alison Ashworth is heading to BBC Radio Lancashire’s studio on 27 October 2016 to discuss the cost of car insurance live on air with presenter, Graham Liver.

Tune in to BBC Radio Lancashire just after 8.00am to hear the discussion.

BBC radio Lancashire Ashworth Motoring Law.jpg

Ashworth Motoring Law is a National Law Firm which specialises in representing drivers who are facing the possible loss of their driving licence. To discuss any motoring offence in confidence and find out whether your licence can be saved, call our mobile friendly helpline on 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk for free initial advice.

Tyre Safety – Basic Checks

October is National Tyre Safety month and as specialists in Motoring Law, we want to raise awareness of the vitally important checks that should be performed on a vehicle’s tyres to ensure they’re safe and legal.

Basic Tyre checks:

  • Tyre tread – The legal tread depth is 1.6mm. This can be checked by inserting a 20p into the tyre’s tread groove. If you can see the rim of the coin at any point around the circumference, then the tyre may be illegal.
  • Tyre pressure – The recommended tyre pressure for your vehicle can be found on the inside of your car door, petrol cap or owner’s manual. Tyres can be inflated to the correct pressure at most petrol stations.
  • Tyre condition – You should regularly check for any lumps, bumps or cuts in the tyre. If you are unsure about the condition of your tyre you should seek advice from your local tyre specialist.

Being caught with defective tyres would result in a £2500 fine and three penalty points per tyre.

Driving on defective tyres also significantly increases your risk of being involved in an accident.

Many local retailers are offering free tyre health check throughout the month of October. To find your local dealer visit: www.tyresafe.org/campaigns/tyre-safety-month-2016-2/dealer-locator/

Why we do what we do:

At Ashworth motoring law we are dedicated to keeping drivers on the road. We believe that no driver’s licence should be placed in jeopardy due to a lack of legal or technical knowledge. That’s why we’re always striving to deliver relevant, current content to keep you up to date with issues that could affect your freedom to drive.

We know the devastating impact that a disqualification from driving could have on a person’s life, career and family. It’s from that understanding that we fight to save the driving licences of motorists throughout the Country, to ensure that no person is disqualified where a valid defence or judicial discretion is available.

If you have been accused of committing a motoring offence and would like to discuss your case in confidence with a specialist motoring law solicitor call 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk. Our expert solicitors will listen to the details of your case and let you know instantly if your licence could be saved.

tyre-safety-motoring-law

Solicitors firm warns drivers to check their tyres or face prosecution

National Law Firm, Ashworth Motoring Law is running a campaign to raise awareness of tyre safety and highlight the dangers of driving on defective tyres. The campaign backs national tyre safety month which runs throughout October.

Ashworth Motoring Law, which specialises in representing drivers who are facing the possible loss of their driving licence is reminding drivers to check their tyres or face prosecution or an accident.

The campaign follows figures released by TyreSafe which show that over one in four cars and vans are driven on Britain’s roads with illegal and dangerous tyres.

According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, 2.2 million cars fail the MoT due to tyre-related defects, and figures from the highways agency indicate that an annual average of 1135 casualties are caused by tyre-related incidents with 198 of those incidents resulting in serious injury or death.

Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law, Alison Ashworth said “Driving on defective tyres is extremely dangerous and risks lives. Many drivers forget to perform basic checks, taking for granted that their tyres are safe. Being caught with defective tyres would result in a fine of up to £2500 and three penalty points per tyre. A person could ‘tot-up’ 12 points and face a 6-month driving ban if all of their tyres were defective”.

The legal tread depth is 1.6mm and can be checked by inserting a 20p into the tyre’s tread groove and assessing whether the outer rim can be seen. The condition and pressure of tyres should also be checked on a regular basis.

Alison, who regularly appears on TV and on the Radio discussing motoring law related issues continued “Now that the seasons are changing, it’s crucial to ensure that our tyres are safe and ready for the harsh conditions of winter. We are advising drivers, ‘don’t chance it, check it’.”

In support of tyre safety month, many local retailers are offering a free tyre health check throughout October in an attempt to get illegal and dangerous tyres off the road. To find a local dealer offering a free tyre health check visit tyresafe.org.

For more information, or to contact Ashworth Motoring Law in relation to a motoring law issue, call the local rate helpline on 0330 22 770, email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk or visit ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk.

dont-chance-it-check-it

 

What sentence can a drug driver expect?

Firstly, there are two drug driving offences:

Section 4 Road Traffic Act 1998  Driving whilst under the influence of drugs.

Section 5a Road Traffic Act 1988 – Driving with a proportion of a controlled drug over the specified limit.

Sentence for people who are found guilty of driving whilst under the influence of drugs:

Someone who is found guilty of driving whilst under the influence of drugs would be sentenced with reference to the level of impairment found in the driver.

Minimum sentence for driving whilst unfit through drugs:

At the lowest end of the spectrum, a person with a moderate level of impairment where their offence contains no aggravating features can expect to receive the following sentence (as a starting point):

  • A 12 – 16-month period of disqualification
  • A band C fine (between 125 -175% of the person’s relevant weekly income)

Maximum sentence for driving whilst unfit through drugs:

At the highest end of the spectrum, a person with a high level of impairment where their offence contains one or more aggravating features can expect to receive the following sentence (as a starting point):

  • A 29 – 36-month period of disqualification
  • 12 weeks in prison and/or a fine of up to £5000

(The maximum sentence for a person who is convicted of an offence in the Magistrates’ Court is 6 months)

The following is a non-exhaustive list of the potential aggravating features relating to this offence:

  • Driving a LGV, HGV, PSV at the time when the offence was committed
  • Poor road or weather conditions
  • Carrying passengers
  • Driving for hire or reward
  • Evidence of unacceptable standard of driving
  • Involved in accident
  • Location e.g. near school
  • High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity

For those who have committed either one of the following offences within the last ten years, the starting point for the disqualification, regardless of the level of impairment increases to 36 months:

  • Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs),]
  • Driving or attempting to drive while unfit through drink or drugs
  • Driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol
  • Failing to provide a specimen
  • Failing to allow a specimen to be subjected to laboratory test

The full sentencing guidelines for driving whilst under the influence of drugs can be found here:

Sentence for people who are found guilty of driving with a proportion of a controlled drug above the specified limit:

Whilst a great deal is known about the expected sentence for driving whilst under the influence of drugs, precious little is known about the expected sentence for driving with a proportion of a controlled drug over the specified limit. The reason for this is that sentencing guidelines have not yet been produced for this offence.

This places us lawyers in a difficult position when it comes to advising our clients about what sentence they can expect to receive in the event of a conviction.

All that is currently known is the minimum and maximum sentences:

Minimum sentence for driving with excess drugs:

  • A 12-month period of disqualification
  • An unlimited level fine

Maximum sentence for driving with excess drugs:

  • A period of disqualification which is currently uncapped
  • A prison sentence and/or an unlimited level fine

(The maximum sentence for a person who is convicted of an offence in the Magistrates’ Court is 6 months)

The trouble with knowing how to sentence someone for the new offence is that guilt for the offence is not determined by reference to any level of impairment as with the old Section 4 Road Traffic Act 1988 Offence. The government’s own experts who provided guidance regarding the proposed limits of the offence even suggested limits which were significantly higher than the very low specified limits which were set. With this in mind, its likely that a person who provided a specimen which is just under the limit  would experience no impairment whatsoever.

It could be tempting for Judges and Magistrates to sentence offenders in a similar fashion to those who commit a drink driving offence, which is an offence which also does not require any level of impairment to prove guilt for the offence. With reference to the sentencing guidelines for drink driving, we can see that the sentence for a drink driver would increase with reference to the amount of alcohol in their system.

  • A first time offender who is just over the legal limit would face a 12 – 16 month ban.
  • A first time offender who is twice the legal limit would face a 17 – 22 month ban
  • A first time offender who is three times the legal limit would face a 23 – 28 month ban and community service
  • A first time offender who is four times the legal limit would face a 29 – 36 month ban and prison sentence.

However the problem with this approach is that the same logic that applies to the drink driving sentences does not apply to drug driving under the specified limit offence:

Someone who is twice the drink driving limit is likely to be showing some signs of intoxication and would be a danger to other road users. Someone who is four times the drink drive limit would almost certainly display serious signs of intoxication and would clearly put other road users at risk by being on the road.

On the other hand, someone who is twice or even four times the drug driving limit might not display or experience any signs of impairment whatsoever.  Sentencing by reference to the existing guidelines for drink driving is therefore manifestly unfair.

Undoubtedly, the task of setting sentencing guidelines for the section 5a drug driving offence is a daunting one. However, until those guidelines are produced, lawyers and their clients will remain uncertain about the potential sentence that could be imposed for an offence which the driver probably didn’t even realise they were committing in the first place.

Article written by Managing Director and Expert Motoring Lawyer, Alison Ashworth.

Alison Ashworth; Expert motoring lawyer and Director of www.ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk

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Why we do what we do:

At Ashworth motoring law we are dedicated to keeping drivers on the road. We believe that no driver’s licence should be placed in jeopardy due to a lack of legal or technical knowledge. That’s why we’re always striving to deliver relevant, current content to keep you up to date with issues that could affect your freedom to drive.

We know the devastating impact that a disqualification from driving could have on a person’s life, career and family. It’s from that understanding that we fight to save the driving licences of motorists throughout the Country, to ensure that no person is disqualified where a valid defence or judicial discretion is available.

If you’ve been unlucky enough to be accused of drug driving or any other motoring offence and need to keep your driving licence, you can call one of our team of Expert Motoring Lawyers at any time on 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk. Our specialist driving offence solicitors will listen to the details of your case and let you know instantly if your licence could be saved.

Sentence for drug driving