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Life Advice

Driving and your job

By Liz Dillon
17-02-2021

Does your job (and long-term career) rely on you having a full driving license?

As we look towards the end of the Uk’s third national lockdown how many people will have the opportunity to get their working routines back to “Normal”? After weeks, months and almost a year working from home with limited travelling ability I am sure there are a lot of individuals actually looking forward to jumping in their cars and taking a journey.

There are a lot of professionals across sectors that relay on this ability to travel freely, often in the luxury of their own cars. Whether it be for commuting purposes as working locations are out of the public transport infrastructure or because of the daily needs of their jobs (maybe field technicians, delivery drivers or sales professionals) this return of freedom once the pandemic restriction is lifted will be welcomed.

However, I read an interesting article this week that was highlighting precautionary areas to those drivers getting back on the road of driving offences we may be unaware of or forgotten about.  Such offences could lead to penalties and ultimately a loss of license should they add up.

If you receive up to 12 points you are likely to be banned for a minimum of six months, which can rise to a two-year ban if there is a third qualification in three years and the need to apply for a new license should you be banned for 56 days or more. All of which can be very worrying if your income and livelihood relies on you being able to drive.

A cynic would argue that drivers ought to simply be careful if their license is so important for them, that way fines and penalties will not be a concern however some of the offenses highlighted in the article I read are things that I simple have not given recent thought to and I have been driving for 20+ years. I am sure that I am not the only one and it gave me food for thought that others maybe putting themselves at risk being unaware of them. The fines for these offenses can add up and, in a time, when money is tight for a high number of people, I thought an awareness that these rules exist could be useful, in addition to helping us all remain safe of the roads.

Driving with a dirty number plate

Police have the power to fine you up to £1000 if you are caught with a dirty number plate. I can not remember the last time I checked my number plate prior to a journey to check how clean it was. Even after all of the bad weather the UK has experienced this would not be my immediately concern before a journey and whilst a very obvious and justifiable rule it is still something many drivers could be at risk of doing.

Warning others of speed traps

I am sure that no one wants to see a fellow drive get themselves into trouble and there is a sense of courtesy behind warning others of imminent speed traps, however if caught doing so this could lead to up to £1000 fine. The highway code instructs divers to use their lights only to let others drivers know you are there; warning others of speed traps could see you in breach of section 89 of the 1997 Police act.

Incorrect night time parking

Parking away from the direction of the traffic at night time (except in the case of a parking bay) could see you fined up to £1000. Rule 248 of the Highway Code says that at night “a car must not be parked at the side of the road facing against the direction of traffic”. I am sure there have been times that we have visited locations and parked in the only available spot on a road, getting in it which ever way you could! Maybe give through to which way you are facing!

Driving with frosted windows!

Whilst it seems a little bit obvious to have visibility in order to drive safely, I am sure there are many of us that have jumped into a car, running late for something important and have scraped the front windscreen and hoped that the heater would clear the rest quickly! However, driving with frosted windows can lead to fines of up to £60 and in fact put ourselves and others in danger. The highway code clearly states you must be able to see clearly before driving.

Leaving your engine running

Letting a car run unnecessarily while stationary on a public road is an offence that could cost you up to £80 fine. In the bad weather when many people warm cars up before traveling or for those who stop and jump out to deliver a package, please note to turn off the engine.

Driving with unrestrained pets

The highway code clearly states (rule 57) that when in a vehicle dogs and other animals should be suitably restrained so they do not distract you from driving. The police could fine motorist for driving without proper control if they are found to be distracted by unrestrained pets and fined up to £1000. This could also be stepped up to £5000 and 9 penalty points should this be elevated to failing to drive without due care and attention if it got to court.

Using your phone in the car

Now this offence I feel is very justified and known too almost everyone. However, something that can impact most drivers from time to time especially if they work from a vehicle. If you are caught using your phone you risk a fine of up to £1000, this includes texting, making a call, gaming, taking a photo, scrolling, playlists. You can use hand-free devices in the car as long as it does not include the need to touch the screen. Fines start from £200 and 6 points and can escalate to £1000 and disqualification should it go to court. There are many occasions that hands free devices do not connect and click in, that drivers quickly answer a call and put in on the loud speaker for emergency calls however all at a risk. This is a key area to be mindful of.

So, if you take your driving license for granted, rely daily on it to do your job and put “food on the table”, please be mindful of many of the under considered areas of risk. I am sure we all mindful of speed, parking fines, accidents however risk extends to wider to other areas not just safety.