New rules are now in force for Light Goods Vehicle Operators in Europe

Department for Transport

The Department for Transport has issued the following update:

On 21 May 2022, new EU rules came into force requiring users of vans and other light goods vehicles weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes and which transport goods for hire or reward from the UK into, or through the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, to hold an International Operators’ Licence.

If you do not possess this licence, you may now find your business disrupted. You could also face enforcement action, including fines, impounding or being asked to return to the UK, depending on the country that you are stopped in.

Although the rules are now in force, if you need to travel to the EU for hire or reward, you can still apply. To reduce any possible disruption, you should select the interim licence option.

If you already hold an International Operators’ Licence for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) you can add extra LGVs to your existing licence. 

Visit GOV.UK for further information on the new EU rules and what to do next.

You may also need to make posting declarations for journeys to the EU

If you’re transporting goods between two points in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway for commercial purposes, (known as cabotage or cross trade), you must now make a “posting declaration”, which means registering the operator, driver, driver employment details, dates of travel, and the vehicle used.

The information you need to sign up and start declaring is available on GOV.UK. Or, you can access the EU Portal and FAQs now.

Ban avoided following Failure to Furnish information allegation

Client review after avoiding a driving ban for failure to furnish information

With an automatic penalty of 6 points, a charge of failing to furnish information (failure to identify the driver following a requirement to do so) could have a drastic impact on your ability to drive. For example, the additional points could put you over the 12-point totting up threshold, leading to a 6 months disqualification from driving.

Thankfully here at Ashworth Motoring Law, we know the most advanced and specialised strategies of dealing with failure to furnish allegations. Such strategies can include mounting specialist defences to the allegation and advancing specific arguments to prevent a driving disqualification.

In Kate’s case, our specialised knowledge of driving laws, combined with the perfect strategy resulted in her avoiding a driving ban which would have otherwise had unimaginable consequences on her life.

Who we are and how we can help you

We are a firm of specialist Solicitors at the hight of our profession who are experts in motoring laws and their associated driving offences. We represent drivers from all over England and Wales who are at risk of losing their driving licence. We pride ourselves on preventing the drastic lifechanging consequences that would otherwise flow from a disqualification from driving.

If you, or someone you know has been accused of committing a driving offence such as failure to furnish information, speeding,  or any other motoring offence, please contact our free advice line on 0330 33 22 770 to speak to a specialist driving offence solicitor today.

Lines are open round the clock. We look forward to helping you.

Mental health and failure to provide

As we close out Mental Health Awareness Week, we’d like to highlight a common but serious motoring offence we deal with that sometimes has mental health issues at the heart of its defence.

The offence is failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

Section 7(6) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 makes It an offence to fail, without reasonable excuse to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis when required to do so by an officer.

This is a serious offence which can attract a custodial sentence in the most severe cases. Drivers who are convicted of failing to provide a specimen also face a mandatory disqualification from driving for at least twelve months, a criminal record, and are classed as a high-risk offender, meaning that they must pass a medical before the DVLA will return their licence.

Are people with mental health issues more likely to fail to provide a specimen?

Being arrested and taken to the police station is a stressful experience for anyone. However, for people suffering with mental health conditions such as PTSD, and anxiety, the experience can be unbearable. They might be confused, frightened and suffer from panic. It is in these heightened states that motorists with mental health problems are required to undergo the evidential drink or drug drive procedure, in some cases, without them having consumed any alcohol or drugs in the first place.  

Not surprisingly, some motorists feel overwhelmed by the situation and either refuse to provide a sample, or are simply unable to do so, either through panic or hyperventilation for example.

When this happens, the person is typically charged with failing to provide a specimen and given a Court hearing in the Magistrates’ Court. They would then face all of the criminal consequences as a result.

But is this fair? In my experience of dealing with failure to provide allegations, people with mental health problems are not treated fairly at the police station. They may even raise their mental health issues to the custody sergeant or investigating officer during their time in custody simply to have it overlooked, or to be told they’re faking it. This is wholly unacceptable.

There is a defence open to people with mental health problems

Fortunately, there is a defence that people with mental health problems are able to use, provided they can show a ‘causal link’ between their psychological condition and their inability to provide the sample. We are usually able to establish this causal link by obtaining supportive evidence from medical professionals and experts. Once the reasonable excuse defence is mounted, it is for the Prosecution to disprove it, which usually proves to be an insurmountable burden. Indeed, a driver cannot be convicted of failing to provide a specimen if they had a reasonable excuse.

An example of a reasonable excuse in driving cases could be where an individual is so overwhelmed with panic that they are unable to understand the officer’s instructions or comply with his requests.

Sadly, there seems to be a lack of awareness of this defence. Many who suffer from mental health problems simply plead guilty to the charge and are left with the stigma of having the conviction on their record.

We are seeking to raise awareness amongst the police, who should look out for these conditions and treat individuals accordingly, and also amongst sufferers of mental health problems to let them know that all is not lost, and they may have a defence available to them.

Article written by Expert Motoring Lawyer and specialist in Failure to Provide a Specimen cases, Alison Ashworth.

Why we do what we do:

At Ashworth Motoring Law 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 failing to provide a specimen 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 admin@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.

Special discount for registered Nurses

12th May marks International Nurses’ Day and to celebrate, we’re offering 10% off initial legal fees for all registered Nurses throughout England and Wales.

For many Nurses, their ability to drive to and from their place of work, or from patient to patient is vital, with some Nurses clocking up huge additional mileage to meet the demands of the job.

We know that mistakes can happen and driving through one too many speed cameras can have a drastic impact on your driving licence, with Nurses who tot-up twelve penalty points facing a driving ban, and time off the road for 6 months.

Having helped many Nurses to avoid a driving ban in circumstances where their career would have otherwise been in jeopardy, we are proud to support International Nurses’ Day by offering a 10% discount on initial legal fees for all registered Nurses.

If you know a Nurse who is facing the possible loss of their driving licence because of committing any driving related offence such as speeding, driving without insurance, or careless driving, invite them to contact Ashworth Motoring Law on 0330 33 22 770 for free initial legal advice and a 10% discount on legal fees. Simply quote “Nurse offer” when speaking to one of our specialist driving offence solicitors between 12 – 19 May 2022.

Who we are and how we can help

Ashworth Motoring Law are a firm of specialist Solicitors at the hight of our profession who are experts in motoring laws and their associated driving offences. We represent drivers from all over England and Wales who are at risk of losing their driving licence. We pride ourselves on preventing the drastic lifechanging consequences that would otherwise flow from a disqualification from driving.

If you, or someone you know has been accused of committing a driving offence such as speeding, careless driving,  or any other motoring offence, please contact our free advice line on 0330 33 22 770 to speak to a specialist driving offence solicitor today.

Lines are open round the clock. We look forward to helping you.

Proposed changes to Dangerous Driving Law could Send Offenders to Prison for Life

Dangerous drivers could face harsher sentences as a new bill by former Prime Minister Theresa May makes it way through the Commons. The bill proposes to make changes to dangerous driving laws. The changes will increase courts freedom to issue tougher sentences for those who have committed serious motoring offences.

The updates could see some offenders issued life sentences to stop them walking clear after just years.

Drivers who kill others after speeding, racing, or using a phone, could receive life sentences under new legislation.

Serious dangerous driving accident

Those who cause death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs could also get a life sentence.

It comes after police forces have revealed that 555 drivers were killed or seriously injured in England and Wales through dangerous driving in the year to March.

Changes to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 will be known as “Violet Grace Law” in memory of a four-year-old child who was killed in a shocking dangerous driving incident.

The child was struck by a vehicle driving dangerously at over 80mph in a 30mph speed zone just three years ago.

However, the driver was jailed for just nine years and four months, meaning the offender could be released just next year.

The sentencing reforms will likely be introduced in Parliament early next year.

A new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving is also being proposed.

Currently, without that specific offence, drivers who cause injuries under such circumstances can only be convicted of careless driving – which has the maximum penalty of a fine.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said the proposed changes for tougher sentences would send a “strong message” to offenders.

He said: “While Britain might have some of the safest roads in Europe, it is a horrendous thought that each year more than 500 drivers in England and Wales are convicted of killing others as a result of their decision to drive dangerously”.

Permitting courts to issue much tougher sentences will send a strong message to motorists and will go some way towards reassuring families of victims killed in collisions that the law is on their side.

The new driving proposals were backed by two-thirds of road users in a massive RAC survey.

The poll revealed that a quarter of road users believe maximum sentences should be increased from the current 14 year maximum.

A massive 40 percent revealed that courts should be able to hand out a life sentence if they believe this is appropriate.

The Government pledged in 2017 to change the law to impose tougher penalties on the worst offenders.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said:

“This government has been clear that punishments must fit the crime, but too often families tell us this isn’t the case with killer drivers.

“So, today I am announcing that we will bring forward legislation early next year to introduce life sentences for dangerous drivers who kill on our roads, and ensure they feel the full force of the law.”

Any increase will apply to offences in England, Scotland, and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, which has separate road safety laws.

Call 0330 33 22 770 any time to speak to a specialist motoring law Solicitor if you require advice or assistance with any driving offence.

When Speeding turns into Dangerous Driving

speedometer

When a person is caught speeding, the usual consequences include:

  1. An invitation to attend a speed awareness course;
  2. A fixed penalty of 3 points and a £100 fine;
  3. A Court summons to attend a hearing at the Magistrates’ Court and up to 6 penalty points or a ban of up to 56 days and a fine of up to £1000 (or £2500 if speeding on the motorway).

However, where the level of the speed is so excessive, the Crown Prosecution Service could consider laying an additional charge of Dangerous Driving.

Unfortunately, there appears to be no uniform approach to what level of speed would provoke the more serious charge of dangerous driving. Sadly, some geographical areas tend to take a different approach to others. I’ve acted on cases where motorists have been ‘lucky’ and avoided the more serious charge and on cases where they have not.

The Dangerous Driving charge can be, and is laid in cases where the only ‘dangerous’ factor is the speed.

There is a common misconception that to be charged with dangerous driving, you must have performed some type of risky manoeuvre such as overtaking multiple cars on a blind bend or driving on the wrong side of the road. It is a further misconception that there must be some form of consequence from the dangerous driving, such as an accident.  This is simply not the case.

I have acted on a number of previous cases where the only factor which made the person’s driving dangerous was the speed.  This is not difficult to understand when the test for dangerous driving is explored:

The test for dangerous driving is simply: whether the person’s standard of driving fell far below the standard expected of a competent driver, and whether it would be obvious to a competent driver that the person’s manner of driving would be dangerous.

The consequences of a conviction for dangerous driving when speed is the only ‘dangerous’ factor

Unfortunately, regardless of how the driving is deemed dangerous, the basic legal consequences of a dangerous driving conviction remain the same:

  • A mandatory minimum 12 month disqualification from driving;
  • An extended re-test;
  • An unlimited fine;
  • Community service or a prison sentence.

In addition, the case could be sent to Crown Court if the Magistrates feel their sentencing powers are insufficient for the nature of the offence.

How many people are driving at excessive speeds during the lockdown?

The Department of Transport has advised that motor vehicle use on Great Britain’s roads has decreased by two thirds since the lockdown started on 23rd March.

Despite this statistic, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) say that they caught more than 6,200 drivers breaking speed limits during the period 23rd March to 22nd April. One driver was clocked driving 115 miles per hour (mph) on a 40 mph road and another 129 mph on the M62.

It is not just the GMP that has noticed the high number of speeding offences during the lockdown. Avon and Somerset Police have stated that 1,391 drivers were charged with speeding offences during the same period. 144 of those caught were charged with high end offences due to the high speeds they were travelling, meaning they will automatically face prosecution due to the severity of their offences.

Gloucestershire Police recorded one driver at 74 mph in a 30 mph speed limit.

Police in Wales have seen a multitude of high-speed offences including speeds of 105 mph in a 60 mph speed limit, 114 mph and 104 mph on 70 mph roads.

Lincolnshire Police forces have stated that they have experienced a doubling in the number of speeding offences despite a reduction by two thirds in the amount of traffic.

These statistics certainly are shocking. However, they make no mention of the number of motorists who are routinely caught driving at excessive speeds in lower speed limit areas. Having acted on such cases in the past, I know that these offences, which often take place in built up areas, can be viewed far more harshly in the Courts.

If you’ve been caught driving at an excessive speed and are worried about a dangerous driving charge

Ashworth Motoring Law are specialists in representing drivers who are charged with driving at particularly excessive speeds. No matter how bad your case might seem, we can assure you it’s probably not the worst we’ve seen!

Whether you’re looking for a specialist speeding or dangerous driving solicitor to identify a defence to clear your name, or want to secure the best possible outcome and ultimately avoid a prison sentence, we can help.

Our specialist motoring law solicitors have secured some truly phenomenal results in cases just like yours. We are proud to say that despite the very real likelihood of a custodial sentence in dangerous driving cases, not a single previous client of ours has ever been sent to prison.

Call now!

Feel free to take a look at our specialist sections on Speeding, Dangerous Driving, or our Guilty Plea and Mitigation Service for more information, or call one of our expert motoring lawyers on 0330 33 22 770 for free initial advice. We look forward to hearing from you.

Article written by Expert Motoring Law Solicitor and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law, Alison Ashworth

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

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Another client found NOT GUILTY of Drug Driving

We are delighted to share this latest testimonial of a client who was recently acquitted of drug driving:

thumbs up ashworth motoring law

Drug Driving; Not Guilty!

“Before I called Ashworth Motoring Law, I was going to plead guilty as I believed I was bang to rights, but after my first call to AML I believed I had a good chance of getting off, or maybe a 50/50 chance.  As time went on, and on hearing the lady who tested my blood was not a pro, the more it was delayed, the more faith I had. My friends did not believe and were very surprised with the outcome.”

Mr Aston Johnson

Aston Johnson

Mr Johnson was found not guilty of drug driving after his case was heard at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court.

If you’ve been accused of drug driving, or indeed any motoring offence and would like Ashworth Motoring Law to represent your case, please call 0330 33 22 770 or email admin@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk to speak directly to one of our expert motoring law solicitors today.

 

Another glowing review of our services!

Here’s what another satisfied client had to say about our services:

Alison took the time to listen to our concerns and dealt with third parties on our behalf to ensure our case was fairly dealt with. She was considerate, efficient and a lady who gets the job done and gets the results. I cannot speak highly enough of Alison and her colleagues – there is nothing she or her team could have done better.

 

Alison dealt with our case with understanding and professionalism. She fought on our behalf to ensure third parties provided testimonials to ensure our son’s case was dealt with fairly. We had gone to another solicitor before hearing about Alison’s firm and I am confident that had we stayed with that firm our son would now be serving a prison sentence. Alison ensured the barrister we got on the day was excellent, both she and one of her colleagues took the time out of their busy schedule to ensure that we were represented in the manner she requested.  From the first conversation with Alison I felt a great sense of relief that she listened to my concerns and suggested a strategy that the previous solicitors didn’t. She was not happy to accept that there was nothing that could be done and she put herself out considerably to ensure our son was represented fairly.

 

If you ever find yourself at the wrong side of the law with a motoring offence you could not do better than Ashworth Motoring Law.

Thank you so much Alison.

Angela – Cheshire

thumbs up ashworth motoring law

If you’ve been accused of a driving offence and would like Ashworth Motoring Law to represent your case, please call 0330 33 22 770 or email admin@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk to speak directly to one of our expert motoring law solicitors today.

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Changes to speeding fines

Guest Article by Jasmine Garton.

 

The maximum fine for speeding has long been £1,000 (unless on the motorway, in which case the fine could be up to £2,500) alongside the possibility of penalty points or a disqualification.

 
However, with the introduction of changes to the operation of speeding fines under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, s.89(1), the maximum amount you can be fined has now increased as of the 24th April 2017.

 
Of course, the best piece of advice that can be given is to simply remain safe and under the speed limit at all times to avoid any unwanted penalties being incurred.

 
If one is to abide by the strict rule of the law, then the second you surpass the designated speed limit, you are liable for a speeding ticket. In reality, it is unlikely that you will be brought up for speeding if for example you are doing 21mph in a 20mph zone, due to practicality (faulty speedometers, etc.)

 
It is worth noting however, that this could occur and so acknowledging the recent legislative changes now is in your best interests.

 

Outline of the recent changes

 
As of the 24th April, three main bands of speeding fines exist; namely Band A, Band B and Band C, from the lowest penalty to the highest, respectively. The band which an offender falls within is reflective of their culpability (blameworthiness) and the level of seriousness of the offence. The following are examples of speeding which fall into each band:

 
• Band A – Driving between 21 to 30mph in a 20mph zone, 31 to 40mph in a 40mph zone and 71 to 90mph in a 70mph zone
• Band B – Driving between 31 to 40mph in 20 mph zone, 56 to 65mph in 40 mph zone and up to 100mph in 70 mph zone
• Band C – Driving 41mph and above in 20 mph zone, 51 and above in 30 mph and above 100 in 70 mph zone

 
What this means for motorists

 
Once the band has been determined, the imposition of a fine is then correlative to the relevant weekly income of the offender.

 
Each band has a starting point, applicable to all motorists, which go up in 50% increments between the respective bands:

 
• A fine of 50% of your weekly income could be expected under Band A, as well as 3 points on your licence
• A fine of 100% of your weekly income could be expected under Band B, as well as 4-6 points on your licence or disqualification for 7-28 days
• A fine of 150% of your weekly income could be expected under Band C, as well as 6 points on your licence or disqualification for 7-56 days

 
It is worth mentioning that although these Bands highlight the changes that will be relevant to most motorists, there is also Bands D, E and F which are applicable if an offender is grossly in excess of the speed limit. The same level of increase as highlighted above applies to Bands D-F and disqualification could be in excess of 56 days.

 
Fine bands D-F may be applicable where the community or custodial threshold has been passed, but in the circumstances of the case it is more appropriate to order a fine, the latter being sufficient in satisfying the aims of sentencing.

 
Aggravating and Mitigating Factors

 
Although these starting points within each Band exist, there is a 25% margin of appreciation either way upon reflection of any mitigating (justifying) or aggravating (worsening) factors that can be proven. A non-exhaustive list of these factors is mentioned in the guidelines to the revised Regulation.

 
For instance, aggravating factors may include location (e.g. If near school or high level of pedestrians in vicinity), carrying passengers or a heavy load, or poor road or weather conditions.

 
On the other hand, examples of mitigating factors could be good character of the offender, if a genuine emergency is established, or if the motorist is a first time offender.

Ashworth Motoring Law penalty points, how many points are on your driving licence

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 admin@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 – 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