I was surprised to read a recent article in the Express, entitled ‘fined £100 for eating banana in traffic jam’.
The title prompted me to review the motoring legislation on the subject. As anticipated (and rather unsurprisingly), there isn’t one piece of legislation that prohibits someone from either:
Arguably, if a vehicle is stationary with its engine off and handbrake on and the person behind the wheel is eating a banana, no offence occurs.
What appears to have occurred in the current case is that the vehicle was in motion when the driver was eating the banana. The test is whether the standard of driving fell below that expected of a competent and careful driver in the circumstances. This is a low benchmark standard and even the most minor discrepancies could contravene the legislation. It strikes me that the above provides a classic example of careless driving. So, think twice before tucking into that snack, taking a swig of that drink or lighting that cigarette if you’re driving along!
We regularly represent clients that are accused of careless driving. It is important to look at all of the circumstances to analyse whether there is a defence to the alleged offence. Have you been stopped by the police and feel hard done by? Contact us for advice on whether to accept that improved driver’s course / fixed penalty, or whether to contest the case.