I have been sent a letter saying that it’s been alleged that I committed the following offences:
– Driving without due care and attention
– Failing to stop
– Failing to report a collision
The following is what happened.
I was picking my 9 year old. And so I took the car and drove to the school. In the car park, a car was parked hazardously and precariously, and not within the lines at all. Furthermore, due to its positioning, it was blocking the traffic in the car park. All other places had been taken up.
As I was reversing out of the school, in the middle of home time children and parents, I accidentally banged into said car above, denting it’s side. Having realised that I had hit a car, I tried to find a place to stop within the car park, but as it was small and there were children around, the best thing to do was to drive out of the car park and park on a nearby road, which I did.
My intention was to return by foot to the car park and wait for the owner of the vehicle once I’d picked up my cousin.
I left my car nearby with my grandma (who is unable to walk short distances easily) in the car. I then walked to the school. On entering the car park, the owner of the vehicle had still not arrived, and so I proceeded to pick up my cousin from the back of the school.
Whilst I was walking I head a car alarm going off, and instantly thought it was my own car. I was worried due to my grandma being alone in the car, and so I hurriedly found my cousin and made my way back to my grandma, through the car park. Again, I saw the car but the owner was nowhere to be seen.
Fortunately however, the car seemed to be blocked in by another, so I believed I had time to quickly return to my grandma, then try and wait for the owner again.
On returning to my car, my grandma was in considerable pain due to her eye. She was panicking and it took me a few minutes to calm her down. Once she was calm, I turned my car on, and drove straight back to my cousin’s school (rather than walk), to save time.
To my dismay, the car was no longer there, and I felt incredibly bad, as I had not taken down the number plate or model of the car, and did not even remember if the colour was a dark blue or black (as it was a very hot day and the sun was shining off the cars).
I sat in the car park for a few moments, thinking of what to do, but as no-one seemed to be about, I went home.
My first thought when I got home was to call the insurance company and notify them of my accident.
However, due to having no details of the other car, I did not and likewise believed that I could not call the police without them being condescending (I have rung 999 before about an incident, where the operator has not believed what I have said, and also, one time when something from my car was stolen and the police said they would not come etc) – i.e. I believed that they would not take me seriously as I hadn’t got any of the other car’s details.
A few weeks later I received said letter mentioned above.
Though I am grateful that I can finally find out the owner of the vehicle and pay them for the damage I caused, I am deeply distressed my the allegations against me for several reasons:
– I lingered round with the car in my sight for a good few minutes, but no owner was forthcoming. (I can provide a picture or diagram of the car park – once I picked my cousin up, I did not stand next to the car because I thought it was dangerous to make a young boy stand amongst moving vehicles.
However, I always had sight of the vehicle and hence was keeping an eye out on whether the driver was there or not. No-one, at any time, was near the vehicle – not even inspecting the dent.
Furthermore, during this time (as I could hear the car alarm) I kept checking my phone so that I knew the time and knew that it wouldn’t be too late to return after quickly checking my car (which unfortunately took longer, due to the condition of my grandma).
– I did stop, though nearby, simply to avoid being a hazard to young, primary school aged children.
– I returned to the scene as soon as my elderly grandma was calm, again in the hope of finding the owner.
– I had every intention to report the above accident, but could not do so due to having no details of the car, except knowing it was a small, not a large care.
– I have been accused of careless driving when the truth us the vehicle I hit was parked dangerously and hazardously and not within any of the lines marked for marking. It was blocking incoming traffic and, had it been within the correct lines, I would no have hit it at all. Unfortunately. at the angle it was parked, I could not see it well at all.
The only allegation I believe can be said to be accurate is the one which is failing to report a collision, though I believe my reasons for not doing so are good enough – that being the duty is that I should do so as the duty to report means “as soon as reasonably practicable”.
To date, it has not been reasonably practicable for me to report the accident, as I don’t have the practical particulars or details of the accident at all – (i.e. any person could falsely allege I hit them, as long as they had a small, dark car, and I would not be able to defend such an accusation as I have no other details of the car of which I can defend myself).
My greatest folly was not writing the license plate of the other vehicle down, but this was simply due to my panic over my grandmother and hearing my car alarm. Another car was also blocking the car and the view of the number plate and so instead of walking around that car, I instead decided to quickly see to my grandma.
I was in charge of 2 vulnerable individuals, and they were my priority. As a result of having my cousin with me, instead of running back to my car (which I would have normally done), I walked at a normal pace so as not to endanger him whilst we crossed a busy main road, and so that he could keep up at a good pace. As mentioned before, my priority was both my grandma and my cousin – and their safety and well-being was paramount.
I do not know how the police got my licence plate details, but if it is due to CCTV in the school car park, this would be beneficial to my case as it shows that I did return and, hopefully, will show me consistently looking at the car and observing whether the owner had returned.
I did not put a note on the car as I had no paper or pen but in any other circumstance I probably would probably not have, (preferring to wait for the owner unless I had waited for a very long time and it was evident the owner wasn’t coming soon) as leaving a note with private details in public is not something I would comfortably do due to the inherent dangers of such an action.
Furthermore, my grandma traveled to Pakistan last week and had become ill and bedridden with some illness. As a result it is highly unlikely that she will be able to attend as a witness for me. The only other witness is my 9 year old, who can attest to everything I have said, but who will probably not be called by the court!
Have you been summonsed to court or have you just been asked to name the driver at the time of the alleged offence? If you have been summonsed to court you are at risk of 5-10 points on your licence. Have you got any points already? If so, how many?
If you have just been asked to name the driver then you need to do so otherwise you risk 6 points for failing to provide driver identity.
We may be able to persuade the police to take no further action in relation to this matter due to the mitigation. If we can that would be the end of the matter.
If not we may be able to get them to let you do the driver improvement course as an alternative prosecution. You are going to be in difficulties if it gets to court because you hit a car which was stationary and that’s always going to be held to be your fault.