Recent statistics from the DVLA have shown that there has been an alarming rise in drivers being disqualified from driving as a result of a dangerous driving conviction. The figures confirm that disqualifications for dangerous driving rose by 1,173 in 2016 which is a massive increase of 29%.
The total number of disqualifications arising from dangerous driving convictions in 2016 was 5,179!
Unsurprisingly, the figures did not make good reading for male drivers who are responsible for a whopping 87% of those convictions, albeit there was only an increase of 1% on 2015’s figures. What was perhaps surprising was that young or new drivers were not the worst offending age group with that title being reserved for those aged between 26 and 35. This age group was particularly interesting insofar as 2016 seen an increase of 28% in this demographic and 30% of all female drivers disqualified for dangerous driving were within this category.
So what has led to such a dramatic rise in dangerous driving convictions? There is no doubt that a number of different factors would have contributed to the rise including targeted campaigns by the police, the increase in drivers using various types of technology whilst driving and simply an increase in the number of drivers on the roads.
However, as specialist road traffic lawyers operating across Scotland and practicing primarily in Scotland’s busiest court, Glasgow Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Court, we are able to offer some insight into the factors we believe may have had a significant contribution to such a significant rise in dangerous driving convictions.
Firstly, we have noticed that many road traffic offences which have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal Service as careless driving are regularly being upgraded to dangerous driving by the Procurator Fiscal. These decisions are clearly taken as the Procurator Fiscal take the view that the police have not properly applied the legal test in deciding what charge to go with. We are glad to say that every one of our clients in this situation in the past year have had their case reduced back down to careless driving.
Secondly, there can often be a fine line between dangerous and careless driving but there is no doubt that driving behaviours which would once have attracted a careless driving charge are now attracting a dangerous driving charge. The legal test has remained the same in relation to both these charges and so we can only assume that the police and the Procurator Fiscal are being pressured or encouraged to take a more hard line approach to tackling poor driving across Scotland.
More dangerous driving prosecutions will of course naturally bring a rise in dangerous driving convictions but for there to be such a dramatic rise in convictions we believe that those accused are making the mistake of not getting the best representation. An accused person is perfectly entitled to represent themselves or hire any lawyer they wish but we would strongly suggest to anyone charged with dangerous driving that the consequences of conviction for this offence are far too serious not to have the right representation. These cases can be extremely complex and technical and a thorough knowledge of the law and exceptional court advocacy skills can often be the difference between keeping or losing your driving licence.
With a 100% success rate in success in dangerous driving cases over the past 12 months it appears we are bucking the trend of increasing dangerous driving convictions. So, if you are charged with dangerous driving don’t risk your driving licence, get award winning representation from Scotland’s award winning road traffic lawyer, call 0141 465 3333