I was recently involved in a road traffic incident, in relation to which I received a summons yesterday (x). The alleged offence is “Driving without due care and attention in that you failed to observe an approaching moped and collided causing serious injury and damage”.
I shall first describe the circumstances, the summons and witness statements, and my driving history; my questions are then detailed below.
My version of the circumstances is as follows:
– I turned my car across the path of an oncoming moped.
– The moped rider suffered serious injury (I was informed at the scene that injuries were not life threatening – I believe it was a broken arm). The moped was a write-off. I was uninjured.
– The right of way belonged to the moped.
– The moped was not speeding, and I was not speeding.
– The junction is a cross-roads controlled by lights which were green for both of us.
– I did not see the moped at all, and do not understand why. I stated this to the police in my statement at the scene.
– I was free to leave the scene, having given my statement and having been breathalysed. However my car was taken by the police for examination. (I have later recovered it and had it repaired).
– The on-scene breathalyser test registered Nil for me. I do not know if the moped driver was tested.
– I took no photographs of the scene.
The summons is summarised as follows:
– The alleged offence took place in February 2010. The date of the summons is x; I received the summons on x (i.e. 10 days later). The post-mark on the summons envelope is x (i.e. 9 days after date of summons).
– There are four witness statements attached to the summons including the moped driver’s. Summary of his key points:
1) “The driver got out of his car immediately after the collision.”
2) “I was in great pain and could not speak; his exact words were: “are you OK? I’m sorry, I didn’t see you. I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.””
3) He states that he was “traveling at approximately 25 mph.” (This was a 30mph zone).
4) “The headlamp on my scooter was functioning properly – the scooter had been recently MOT’d”. I did not see the scooter at all – so cannot verify this.
5) “I was wearing a yellow reflective vest at the time of the accident” – I do not remember this from seeing him on the ground after the incident; I remember only black. But I am not sure.
– He describes traffic as “Light”, weather “Dull”, road “Greasy”, visibility “Dark”, street lighting “Good”.
– With regards to his description of the events leading to the incident (i.e. me turning across him), his statement agrees with mine.
The second witness statement belongs to a driver waiting at a red light at the junction:
– He states “I looked up to the right and saw the bike coming nearer the central line than the middle of his lane which would have made him hard to see being night time. I believe I looked down, heard the bang, looked up, and saw the car in the position of the diagram. (…) In the 2-3 weeks previously people were going through the red lights because 1 of the sensors [sic] which controlled the timing was at an angle and not working properly and would stay red. (…) This sensor was only fixed the day previously”. [Note that he describes the lights crossing my actual path, i.e. not the green lights that I and the moped driver passed through; because he believes I was crossing the junction rather than turning right].
– He describes my path differently to myself and the moped driver; he alleges I jumped a red light coming across the junction, rather than driving through a green and making to turn right. This is contrary to my statement and the statement of the moped rider.
– He describes traffic “Light”, weather “Dull”, road “Dry”, visibility “Dark” and street lighting “Poor”.
The only other witness statements were the Police Officer attending the scene; Police photographer of the scene. The first officers on the scene were plain-cloths – there is no statement from them.
My driving history:
– Full license since x.
– x – 3 points (speeding). (These are no longer on my license.)
– No other offences.
– Fully insured and taxed.
I am inclined to plead guilty by post given that I would acknowledge that I turned across the moped’s right of way. My questions are therefore:
1) How likely is it that my sentence extends beyond points / fine, to disqualification? Will I get a ban?
2) Are there any discrepancies regarding the dates of the summons that might serve in my favour?
3) Should I express my remorse (which is very genuine) in my plea?
4) Does the fact that I consider this a genuine accident have a role to play here? (I am by no means a reckless driver at all)
Many thanks for reading all the way through this!!
The summons has to be issued within 6 months of the date of the alleged offence and the court/police can take as long as they like (within reason) to send it out to you. So no argument there.
I think you are right to plead guilty. The only thing I think you should take issue with is the suggestion that you jumped a red light. That would make the offence more serious and would affect the sentence imposed. If you and the moped driver agree that you didn’t then the prosecution should be content not to put the case to the court on that basis.
If the moped driver’s arm was broken then the court are going to take this seriously. They are not supposed to take into account the consequences and are supposed to concentrate on the degree of negligence involved but they do often get distracted by the injuries. You could be at risk of a discretionary ban as a result.
I don’t think the court will let you plead guilty by post as a result of this risk they will want to see you in court.