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Under section three of the Road Traffic Act 1988, it is illegal to splash someone as it amounts to driving “without reasonable consideration for other persons”. Those found guilty of deliberately driving through puddles and splashing pedestrians will likely be hit with a £100 fixed penalty notice and three penalty points if caught by police.
However, should motorists be deemed to be driving in a manner that “amounts to a clear act of incompetence, selfishness, impatience, and aggressiveness” then the maximum punishment of a £5,000 fine could be levelled.
If drivers fail to pay the £100 fixed penalty or refuse the penalty notice they could also face the maximum £5,000 fine if the case is taken to court.
Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesperson, called on motorists to show respect and care for other road users and pedestrians.
He said: “Anyone unfortunate enough to have suffered a drenching by an inconsiderate motorist splashing them when driving through a puddle would probably welcome a sizeable financial penalty for the driver.
“Since 2013 careless driving can be dealt with by a Fixed Penalty Notice with a £100 fine and three penalty points.
“If, however, they refuse [the notice] then they will face a magistrate who could impose a fine up to £5,000, although the maximum is very unlikely.”
The Met Office issued two yellow weather warnings for rain earlier this week, with both affecting parts of Wales and South West England.
It warned of persistent heavy rain, which could lead to floods, possible power cuts and the potential for some communities to be cut off.
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Spray and flooding can also lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures in the affected areas.
Andy Moody, Director at GoShorty, warned drivers of the risk of receiving fines or penalty points on their licence for simple actions.
He said: “Getting 12 points on your driving licence in less than three years could get you disqualified from driving.
“On top of that, getting points on your licence will also result in the increase of your insurance policy, as your insurance provider will want to be informed about all your motoring convictions in the past three years (five in some cases).
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“It is for these reasons, as well as to ensure that everyone’s being safe on the road, that it is useful to keep in mind which are the offences that would get you the most points on your licence.”
In 2010, a woman failed her driving test after driving through a puddle and splashing a pedestrian in Manchester.
She said she drove through a puddle and sprayed a woman who was standing at a nearby bus stop, but carried on to the test centre to end her test.
The woman claimed the driving instructor failed her because it constituted a “traffic offence and he was treating it as a road accident”.
She called the decision “ludicrous” and “ridiculous”, adding that the instructor suggested she stop the car and exchange details with the pedestrian.
Greg Wilson, founder of Quotezone.co.uk said: “Most of us are aware that we will receive a fine and points on our licence for speeding or talking on a mobile phone. But there are many rules and regulations of the road that we may not have been directly taught, that are very important to know in order to avoid prosecution.
“Motorists often assume that they only risk points on their licence by driving too fast, running a red light or causing an accident, but being a safe driver and keeping your licence clean isn’t as simple as that.
“Being wary of the less obvious rules, regulations and laws can keep drivers out of trouble with the law and help keep their insurance premiums down at a time when we all need to keep costs to a minimum.”
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