Corona Motoring Advice -

whilst driving during the Coronavirus pandemic is still allowed, you can only drive if you have good reason for doing so. Simply going out for a drive because you feel like it means that you are breaking the law.

You must not leave your home unless you have reasonable excuse to do so, please see below official list of reasons you are allowed to leave your home:

    • To obtain essential items for your household, animals or vulnerable persons outside your household. Essentials include food, medical supplies, money and supplies for upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the home
    • To exercise
    • To seek medical assistance
    • To assist a vulnerable person or to provide emergency assistance
    • To donate blood
    • To travel for work (including volunteering), if it is not reasonably practicable to work from home
    • To attend a funeral
    • To fulfil a legal obligation such as attending court
    • To access critical public services such as childcare, social services, DWP or victim services
    • To arrange child contact
    • To go to a place of worship if you are a minister
    • To move house
    • To avoid illness, injury or risk of harm
     

Breaking the rules can result in a criminal conviction and/or a fine. The Police have the power to issue a fixed penalty of £60.00, reduced to £30.00 for payment made within 14 days, for the first offence and £120.00 for a second offence.

We have received numerous enquiries about lockdown and how this effects day to day life. Please see below frequently asked questions and the answers to the same:

What happens if you are stopped by the Police during lockdown?
If a police officer stops a car and they suspect that the driver or passengers are breaking the rules on leaving their home, they can act. The action taken can be as follows:
    • Directing the person to go home
    • Removing the person to their home. An officer can use reasonable force if necessary to remove the person
    • Issuing a fixed penalty notice
    • Reporting the person for a summons to appear at a Magistrates Court
    • Arresting the person but only if it is reasonable and proportionate
Are the Police still making arrests during lockdown?
Police are trying to limit routine work however, this does not mean that they will ignore motoring offences such as drink driving. If the Police come across a drunk driver, they will still be arrested and taken to a police station for a breathalyser test.
We urge you not to think you can get away with drink driving because the Police have more pressing/urgent matters to deal with, as indicated above, they will continue to arrest drunk drivers!
I am due to complete a driver awareness course; will this still go ahead?

There will be no driver awareness courses whilst the Coronavirus restrictions remain in place.

The National Police Chiefs Council suspended the program for 12 weeks from 20 March 2020, nobody can book a new session, and operators have cancelled any existing bookings.

Some course providers are developing virtual programs that don’t require a physical presence in a classroom.

The press has reported some fears that drivers who are not allowed to do the course will face penalty points.

Many police forces seem to be either postponing the classes or taking no action against the motorist.

My MOT test is due, what do I do!?
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have extended MOT expiry dates. Vehicles due for a test on or after 30 March 2020 have had the expiry date extended by a period of six months.
I’m not using my vehicle as a result of lockdown; do I still need to insure it?

There are no changes to the requirement to insure your vehicle.

If you are not using your vehicle, you can declare a statutory off-road notification (SORN).

You will not have to pay road tax or insure your car is it is SORN. Only make a SORN if you do not plan to use your vehicle, and you have a place to keep it off the road. Driveways and garages are OK, but street parking is not.

I am due to sit my driving test. Will this still go ahead?

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) suspended driving tests for up to three months from 21 March 2020.

DVSA has plans to allow tests for critical workers such as NHS staff.

I have been summonsed to attend court in respect of a motoring offence, will the hearing go ahead as planned?

Magistrates Courts ordinarily hear all motoring offences however, more serious charges such as dangerous driving go to the Crown Court to be dealt with.

During the height of the restrictions, Magistrates courts are only dealing with urgent cases including custody cases. Motoring cases are not deemed as urgent and hearings are likely to be adjourned to a later date.

Magistrates Courts are making their own arrangements although most of them seem to be following the same pattern.

Those with hearings due to commence in March or April 2020 should receive a letter from the Court with a new hearing date. If you do not receive a letter from the Court around the time of the hearing, we would advise you to contact them to establish the up to date position.

Please do not ignore the matter, keep in touch with the Court and ensure you make a note of any further hearing dates!

There may well be further adjournments down the line as we do not know how long the Coronavirus restrictions will remain in force and it is down to you to ensure that you keep in regular contact with the Court to ensure you are fully appraised of any hearing dates.

Whilst the Courts are writing to anyone with court appearances, please do not rely on receiving a letter.
You can find additional information on the HM Court and Tribunals Service website.

I am due to receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution, will this still be issued?

The rules about Notice of Intended Prosecution for motoring offences such as speeding have not changed! They still need to be served within 14 days of the offence being committed.

If the Police cannot find out the name and address of the driver, the 14-day time limit can be extended.

An extension may well also apply during the Coronavirus restrictions if there was a delay in obtaining information from DVLA that was through no fault of the Police.

These are just a few examples of some of the queries/questions we have received during this difficult time. If you have a question that has not been answered, please contact us!

visit office:

41a Richmond TerraceBlackburn, LancashireBB1 7AW

write an e-mail:

info@fmbsolicitors.co.uk

make a call:

01254 274 700
VAT registration number: 844661413
A list Directors is available upon request
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