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    • Tanarilla
    • By Tanarilla 13th Oct 17, 12:08 AM
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    Tanarilla
    driving without due care and attention
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 17, 12:08 AM
    driving without due care and attention 13th Oct 17 at 12:08 AM
    Hello everybody, I`m in need of some advice. I`ll try to keep it as short as possible.
    A dear friend of mine, in his 80`s, is facing court, charges being "driving without due care and attention". He was driving home, at an intersection he pulled out, he says he did not notice the car coming, crashed into it, they basically ended up on the other side of the road. (I was not there, I only read the witness statements) Court documents came, he went on a one day course for training, where he essentially failed. (the instructor he was driving with said that unfortunately he is unable to mark him as passed, because he does not seem to be in full control of the vehicle) He pleaded guilty, expecting a fine, but the court sent another letter, the hearing has been adjourned and a new date booked, and the court is asking him to attend. He asked me to write a letter, like a character reference, saying that he is a good driver etc. I have agreed, however.... I do not want to lie. Because he is a terrible, terrible driver. He is super sensitive about this, I have tried to bring this up after the accident, gently suggesting that it might be time to give up driving for good, but he got really angry, so telling him that again is not an option. Here are the questions: can the court disqualify him permanently? Is the court going to read the letters out loud? Is there a genuine possibility that the court will be influenced by character references? Can I send a letter to the court explaining that I write the reference only because he is a dear friend of mine, but in reality, he should not be on the road?
    Thank you for reading, and please excuse the novel.
Page 1
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 13th Oct 17, 1:33 AM
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    Keep pedalling
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 17, 1:33 AM
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 17, 1:33 AM
    Whatever you write is likely to make little difference, they already know he is a poor driver from the course he went on, and the instructor is an expert witness. Under the circumstances he is likely to get a ban, which won't be lifted unless he manages to pass a driving test. The magistrate certainly has the power to do that and I hope for the safety of your friend and other road uses that is what happens.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 13th Oct 17, 4:39 AM
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    unholyangel
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 17, 4:39 AM
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 17, 4:39 AM
    I'd write the character reference, and perhaps include some carefully worded parts about how upset he is over the whole affair/the prospect of losing his licence as he relies on the car for xyz but I wouldn't in any way include anything about him being a good driver.

    Are you a driving instructor or someone otherwise qualified to make that assessment?

    If he picks up on the fact you didn't say anything about his driving and you're not qualified, I'd highlight the above to him. Maybe in a joking way or a way that doesn't sound too critical such as "i know i think i'm important but unfortunately my unqualified opinion doesn't count and I'd hate to think I inadvertently said something which affected you negatively. Plus I think it would be better for your defence if someone who is qualified made that statement".

    The fact you think no one qualified will be prepared to make that statement is neither here nor there.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • CKhalvashi
    • By CKhalvashi 13th Oct 17, 4:57 AM
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    CKhalvashi
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 17, 4:57 AM
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 17, 4:57 AM
    Whatever you write is likely to make little difference, they already know he is a poor driver from the course he went on, and the instructor is an expert witness. Under the circumstances he is likely to get a ban, which won't be lifted unless he manages to pass a driving test. The magistrate certainly has the power to do that and I hope for the safety of your friend and other road uses that is what happens.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    I have to agree with this. I don't want to sound unduly unreasonably when I type the below, however I'm looking at this from a neutral position with no emotion attached.

    As someone who spends a considerable amount of time on the road every year I feel that the standards of driving need to be monitored on a more regular basis for the purpose of road safety.

    Age and experience doesn't come into it at all as far as I'm concerned if a driver doesn't appear to be in control of the vehicle to a professional. Removing the license from such a person is in the best interests of both that person and the public at large.

    What Unholy Angel posted is worth considering too. I forgot to quote it and my iPad doesn't want to quote parts of it in this post for some reason.
    "I kada sanjamo san, nek bude hiljadu raznih boja" (L. Stamenkovic)

    Call me Remainer or Romaniac, but not Remoaner. It's insulting and I have the right to have my voice heard too.

    I can spell, my iPad can't.
    • angrycrow
    • By angrycrow 13th Oct 17, 6:21 AM
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    angrycrow
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 17, 6:21 AM
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 17, 6:21 AM
    At some point we will all get to the point when age and fading reaction times mean we need to give up our licence. Unfortunately your friend has already passed this point but does not want to admit the reality. It is good that you want to support your friend but this needs to be a tough love situation.

    I know from experience of having to confiscate and ultimately sell a family members car because he would not give up driving despite being unfit to do so that it is not an easy position to be in.

    You are in a really difficult position with the character reference and it would be best to decline. Your friends best response to the court is to voluntarily surrender his licence in advance of the magistrates appearance and then pleade guilty and tell the police and cps he has done so. Cps may then drop the case avoiding any fine. Even if cps still proceed the magistrate will take into account that your friend has given up driving when considering the fine.
    • Joshua_Nkomo
    • By Joshua_Nkomo 13th Oct 17, 7:22 AM
    • 64 Posts
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    Joshua_Nkomo
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 17, 7:22 AM
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 17, 7:22 AM
    A family friend had to give up driving a number of years ago and at the time he had a fairly new Mondeo. He struck a deal whereby he gave the car to the local (ruralish) taxi firm in exchange for free taxi rides for life. I think he lasted about 5 years before he died.

    Seemed to work well.
    • Frozen_up_north
    • By Frozen_up_north 13th Oct 17, 7:49 AM
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    Frozen_up_north
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 17, 7:49 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 17, 7:49 AM
    Writing a letter to court stating someone is a good/careful/courteous driver, when you know they aren’t is likely end badly for yourself - don’t do it.
    • ssparks2003
    • By ssparks2003 13th Oct 17, 7:54 AM
    • 175 Posts
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    ssparks2003
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 17, 7:54 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 17, 7:54 AM
    He asked me to write a letter, like a character reference, saying that he is a good driver etc. I have agreed, however.... I do not want to lie. Because he is a terrible, terrible driver.
    Originally posted by Tanarilla
    As has been already said what you right with have limited effect on the outcome since they already know that he is a bad driver.

    But if you know he is that bad why would you even consider it, if he was to get his licence back and latter caused another more serious accident how would you feel because you spared his feelings? Him being on the roads is risking his life as well as everyone else's life; perhaps do the right thing instead/
    • Aretnap
    • By Aretnap 13th Oct 17, 11:04 AM
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    Aretnap
    • #9
    • 13th Oct 17, 11:04 AM
    • #9
    • 13th Oct 17, 11:04 AM
    can the court disqualify him permanently?
    Originally posted by Tanarilla
    In theory a lifetime ban is possible for any driving offence, but in practice they're hardly ever given, even for very serious ones. What's more likely is that the court would impose a ban until passes a new driving test. (He could get a provisional licence in the meantime and take some more lessons or drive with a supervisor, but would have to pass a test to regain a full licence). Of course, if the problem is that his faculties are on the wane and he's unlikely ever to be able to pass a test, as opposed to him just needing a bit of retraining, this would amount to much the same thing as a permanent ban.
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 13th Oct 17, 11:48 AM
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    Stoke
    I have no idea how courts work and magistrates etc, but if I remember rightly (perhaps i've watched too much CSI Stoke on Trent), they don't usually read out letters? The letter will be passed to the three magistrates who will read it quietly between them.

    I would make the letter neutral. Explain how devastated he is. Explain he's a good citizen, and he does one day a week down the food bank (don't lie, but if he does do anything for charity, include it!!).

    The reality is though, he's up for a ban, and rightly so I'm afraid. Cars don't come from nowhere, unless it's pitch black and their lights aren't switched on. Compassion can only go so far. If your friend had injured or killed someone, he would be facing jail. At his age, he has limited options. He either gets himself up to standard, or gives it up.

    Rather than recommend he quits, you could suggest he starts driving an automatic for example. One less thing for him to think about and that sounds so cruel, but having heard my father talk about when my grandmother took him out for a drive.... gear changes was seemingly something she struggled with..... oh and it was the last time she ever drove. He'll still need to get himself up to scratch though and it's a lot of work i would imagine at his age.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 13th Oct 17, 11:56 AM
    • 28,381 Posts
    • 72,235 Thanks
    Mojisola
    He asked me to write a letter, like a character reference, saying that he is a good driver etc. I have agreed, however.... I do not want to lie. Because he is a terrible, terrible driver.
    Originally posted by Tanarilla
    But if you know he is that bad why would you even consider it, if he was to get his licence back and latter caused another more serious accident how would you feel because you spared his feelings? Him being on the roads is risking his life as well as everyone else's life; perhaps do the right thing instead/
    Originally posted by ssparks2003
    I second this ^

    You should be honest with him and say you aren't prepared to lie to a court.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 13th Oct 17, 12:37 PM
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    AdrianC
    The penalty for any offence is well defined - for a relatively minor collision and a DWDC&A/Careless Driving charge, then he'll almost certainly "just" get a fine and a few points. For a serious case, they could disqualify, but they can't impose an indefinite ban. If the charge was Dangerous Driving, then he would not only have a minimum 12mo ban, but would have to pass an extended driving test to get his licence back.

    https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/item/careless-driving-drive-without-due-care-and-attention-revised-2017/

    His insurer will do a lot of the rest of the work - 80s, fresh at-fault collision leading to a DWDC&A conviction... That's going to shove his premium through the roof, if they'll still cover him.
    The suggestion to move him to an automatic won't help, though, if he simply didn't see the vehicle he drove into. Is his eyesight up to driving? Or is it his attention?

    As far as the letter goes - you've been asked to give a character reference. Be honest. You do not have to give the WHOLE truth, though. If you do not feel comfortable saying he's a good driver, then don't. You do not have to say he's a terrible driver, though.

    "I have known Mr X since 1843, and can confirm that he is of good character. He is involved in charitable works, and I would count him as a close friend."

    Leave it at that. Let them fill the blanks in.
    • Aretnap
    • By Aretnap 13th Oct 17, 1:43 PM
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    Aretnap
    The penalty for any offence is well defined - for a relatively minor collision and a DWDC&A/Careless Driving charge, then he'll almost certainly "just" get a fine and a few points.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    Not really - the guidelines you link to are just guidelines, and are not intended to be applied mechanically to all cases. One type of case where the magistrates will commonly deviate from them if where it appears that the offence relates to an overarching lack of competence on the part of the driver, as opposed to an act of carelessness or bad judgement, or even disrespect for the law. It's not at all uncommon for people in the OP's friend's position to be disqualified until a test is passed, even for offences which are fairly minor in their own right. And the guidelines do allow for this

    The discretion to order a re-test is likely to be exercised where there is evidence of inexperience, incompetence or infirmity...
    by Sentencing guidelines
    For a serious case, they could disqualify, but they can't impose an indefinite ban.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    If by indefinite you mean until a test is passed then as above they are actually fairly common. If you mean they can't impose a lifetime ban then they can in theory - there is no statutory limit on the length of ban which can be imposed for any offence. However in practice lifetime bans are rarely given, though they do exist. (Link, link)
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 13th Oct 17, 2:03 PM
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    IanMSpencer
    A letter from a friend will carry little weight from the magistrates. The incident is a matter of fact which has been determined.

    As this has gone to court, for what would often appear to be a fixed penalty offence, it would appear to be the case that the police considered it marginal as to whether it was dangerous driving and felt that the normal fine was not sufficient.

    I'm confused as to the driving test though. If this hasn't gone to court, then there isn't anyone who can impose a test - did he consult a solicitor who recommended it? If he has been to court already and found guilty. have they deferred sentencing based on the outcome of an assessment?

    In terms of sentencing, again your letter would carry little weight, and would be unlikely to be a problem, but misleading the court is a criminal action. To be honest, I would risk his wrath and tell him that you cannot write to the court a dishonest letter and that you believe he is unsafe to drive. I would also refuse to get in a car with him.

    My dad had a diabetes related accident. I pointed out the economics of taxis and he had a lot of friends who were more than happy to return decades of favours so it was not a problem.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 13th Oct 17, 2:46 PM
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    AdrianC
    Not really - the guidelines you link to are just guidelines, and are not intended to be applied mechanically to all cases.
    Originally posted by Aretnap
    Oh, absolutely.

    It's not at all uncommon for people in the OP's friend's position to be disqualified until a test is passed, even for offences which are fairly minor in their own right. And the guidelines do allow for this
    Ah, furry muff. I didn't realise a discretionary re-test could be ordered for anything endorsable. Let's hope that applies here.
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 13th Oct 17, 3:55 PM
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    Norman Castle

    Rather than recommend he quits, you could suggest he starts driving an automatic for example.
    Originally posted by Stoke
    Assuming he has had a lifetime of driving manual cars adapting to an automatic now would add to his problems.

    OP, If you write the letter word it to emphasise he was a good driver and that you are not really qualified to judge.

    This may have gone to court because he has refused to stop driving. Can a court revoke his licence until he re-takes a driving test?
    Last edited by Norman Castle; 13-10-2017 at 4:00 PM.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 13th Oct 17, 4:35 PM
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    Stoke
    Assuming he has had a lifetime of driving manual cars adapting to an automatic now would add to his problems.

    OP, If you write the letter word it to emphasise he was a good driver and that you are not really qualified to judge.

    This may have gone to court because he has refused to stop driving. Can a court revoke his licence until he re-takes a driving test?
    Originally posted by Norman Castle
    Surely not? Automatics are so easy to drive?
    • Nobbie1967
    • By Nobbie1967 13th Oct 17, 6:32 PM
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    Nobbie1967
    Surely not? Automatics are so easy to drive?
    Originally posted by Stoke
    They are easy, but different and at the age of the OP's friend, the change is likely to lead to further problems. I'm only 50, but nearly caused a crash when I drove my first auto as when slowing for a turn I tried to dip the 'clutch' only to press the brake pedal and make an emergency stop as the slowing car forced my foot on the pedal even harder. Luckily, nothing was behind me🙂
    • IanMSpencer
    • By IanMSpencer 14th Oct 17, 10:49 AM
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    IanMSpencer
    Surely not? Automatics are so easy to drive?
    Originally posted by Stoke
    How many people have runaway car accidents? It is a classic very old driver scenario, press the accelerator instead of the brake and haven't got the reactions and mental acuity to correct their mistake. Tends to be less of a problem in a manual because naturally in an emergency stop you instinctively hit the clutch as well.

    Locally, a little old man took out a lamppost and nearly hit a couple of cars exiting a car wash at full throttle - across the forecourt, road and hit the other side next to a bus stop. Two severely injured in the car, it could have been several dead.

    Typically, they believe that the accelerator jammed - but quite a few cars cut the fuel if you press the brake (my VW did for example).
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