Fortunately this decision comes from the lawcourts in America but one wonders whether it could one day have any relevance in this country?
Two men who sent a text to a friend while she was driving could be held partially responsible for the death of the man she knocked over. A judge has ruled that both men could face charges if it can be proved that they knew the driver was at the wheel when they sent text messages to her. The driver knocked a motorcyclist from his bike whilst driving, causing injuries from which he died. The driver was using her mobile phone at the time of the accident. The family for the deceased have called for the friends who were sending the text is to be held partially responsible for causing death by dangerous driving
It is highly unlikely that aperson not even physically present within the car at the time of a fatal accident could be held responsible for causing death by dangerous driving. Not only would they have to prove that the texter knew the driver was in the car but also that they would read the text whilst driving. It is interesting that in many states in America, staff who serve alcohol to patrons that they know will then drive home do get a partial responsibility if there is a road traffic accident and there is a prosecution for causing death by dangerous driving. In that case there is a clear link between serving the alcohol and the accident, only if the staff are aware that the person intends to drive having been over the drink drive limit.
The police commissioners in England and Wales are demanding that the legal drink drive limit be cut by as much as 1/3 despite the government recently ruling this out.
Police commissioners have demanded that the legal drink drive limit across England and Wales should be brought into line with that in Scotland. Motorists should be aware of this because it is possible that a single alcoholic drink could put a motorist over the drink drive limit resulting in a police prosecution and driving disqualification. The basis of the reduction in the legal limit is that it would improve road safety.
Drink drive experts including forensic scientists and accident reconstruction experts are almost unanimous in their belief that a reduction in the drink drive limit would improve road safety.
At the moment there are two different drink drive limits, one for Scotland and one for England and Wales. England has the highest legal drink drive limit in Europe. The legal drink driving limit in blood is 80 MG of alcohol per 100 ML of blood. In Scotland this has been cut to 50 MG. It is worthy of note that the legal limit imposed in England has been in existence for 50 years. When it was introduced vehicles would travel significantly slower and the number of vehicles on the road would have been less than half that there is now.
In any event, if the limit is reduced, it is a safe prediction that the number of motorists prosecuted by the police for driving with excess alcohol and thereby facing a driving ban would, in the short term at least, undoubtedly rise very quickly.