Embarrassingly simple questions about road traffic regulations have now been answered. Police are constantly being asked questions by members of the public, but some seem too scared to ask even the simplest things.
Whether out of fear or out of sheer embarrassment, clarifying a simple rule or two is something many people don’t want to ask their officers to do, by the looks of it. However, there is now help available from Ask the Police, the official source for armed forces in England and Wales, covering all sorts of subjects.
Many of the simple but unasked questions are road related and this list addresses what people know or don’t know about the rules of driving and horse riding in the UK. But what embarrassing questions have finally been answered? let’s find out
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Can I be charged with drunk driving if I’m drunk but just sitting in my car?
In this case, Ask the Police clarifies that a person in this situation can be charged with one of three criminal offenses. They are:
Driving a Motor Vehicle Over the Permitted Limit (OPL)
Attempt to drive a motor vehicle while you are OPL
Responsible for a motor vehicle during OPL
The third is most likely true in this case, but in order to avoid being charged by the police with any of the above offenses, a person must demonstrate that “there is no likelihood” that they are driving over the limit.
You could be charged even if you have no intention of driving (Image: sestovic)
If this cannot be proven, people will commit this crime. Ultimately it depends on the circumstances in which the person is found by the police and whether they will press charges, but they will consider the following factors:
Whether you had the keys to the vehicle
Were you in the vehicle at the time?
What were you doing back then?
Whether anyone else was in or near the vehicle
What evidence is there that you intended to drive the vehicle?
Can cyclists be charged with drunk driving?
Staying on the beverage topic here, the short answer is yes. Laws make it clear that it is a criminal offense to ride a bicycle and be drunk.
The rules officially state that “riding a bicycle on a street or other public place while incapacitated by alcohol or drugs” is a criminal offense. This means that cyclists must have proper control of their bike at all times.
Is it illegal to smoke while driving?
Current road traffic regulations make it clear that it is not a crime to smoke in a car when there are no children present. This also applies to people eating behind the wheel or changing radio stations.
Crucially, the rules make it clear that acts such as smoking should not take a driver’s attention off the road or impair his or her control of the vehicle.
Can cyclists use the phone while driving?
Ask the Police makes it clear that using a cell phone while cycling is not illegal, but could become so if the rider is careless in the saddle. They also emphasize that it is “inadvisable for obvious security reasons.”
Do you have to report an animal hit by a car to the police?
This all depends on the animal in question as dogs, goats, horses and sheep are all covered by current legislation which means that it is a legal requirement to report any accident involving these to the police. The law does not extend to cats, however, and unless the collision resulted in a major incident, there is no need to report that impact.
Motorists must also note that they cannot take a badger if they collide with it – dead or alive. This is because badgers are specially protected animals and the animal must be left where it will not be handled unless someone has the appropriate authority to deal with it.
Do drivers have to buckle up?
The simple answer here is yes. According to current law, wearing a seat belt in the front and rear of the vehicle is mandatory. However, if the car is old enough not to have seat belts, the law does not apply and vehicles cannot be forced to fit them.
Can drivers wear sunglasses while driving at night? There are no rules about sunglasses behind the wheel (Image: Joey Celis)
There are no specific laws prohibiting drivers from wearing sunglasses while driving at all times of the day – day or night. However, motorists should advise caution behind the wheel to ensure their vision is clear at all times.
Can cyclists take passengers with them?
It’s easy response time once again and on this occasion it’s no. Cyclists cannot carry a passenger at any time unless their bicycle is designed to carry another person or has a special seat. However, tandem bicycles designed for another person are acceptable.
Is overtaking on the left ok?
Also known as a company, the decision is easy here from Ask the Police. No. According to the StVO, driving on the Autobahn is not permitted and can be prosecuted by the police as negligent driving.
However, other rules apply on non-motorways. Here, the road traffic regulations make it clear that overtaking on the left is only possible under two circumstances:
When the vehicle ahead signals to turn right and there is space
If traffic in queues is moving slowly and the queue on your right is moving slower than you, you can overtake on the left
Can you pick wildflowers that grow by the roadside?
Motorists should be aware of this when they see people on the side of the road, as this flower picking is not illegal. According to Ask the Police, picking flowers from roadsides is perfectly legal as long as they are kept for personal use. However, the flowers must be truly wild and not planted for commemorative purposes like poppies are planted for remembrance.
According to the police, picked flowers cannot be resold, nor can picking the whole plant, as this is considered theft. Roadside people picking flowers also need to pay attention to their surroundings, and motorists should also pay attention to people near the roadside at all times.
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