Police Scotland's Festive Crackdown on Driving under the Influence: All You Need to Know

Police Scotland’s Festive Crackdown on Driving under the Influence: All You Need to Know

The Minister for Transport and Police Scotland have launched this year’s festive enforcement campaign to tackle drink and drug-driving across Scotland, highlighting the personal and criminal consequences of being found guilty of driving under the influence.

More than 20,000 drivers are stopped by the police in Scotland every month and Police Scotland’s enforcement campaign will see an even stronger focus on drink driving on Scotland’s roads, so the chances of being caught are higher than ever.

The consequences of drink and drug-driving can be devastating and put not only the driver but any other passengers, and road users at risk of serious injury or worse. With more people out and about and enjoying Christmas parties this year, in comparison to the Covid-19 restrictions that consumed the festive season in 2020, Police Scotland’s message is clear: if you’re planning to have a drink, even just the one, leave the car at home.

Police Scotland confirmed that 395 motorists having tested positive for drug-driving, and 600 arrested for drink-driving and related offences throughout Scotland in the last two months alone. Unfortunately, it is the reality that some people do still take the risk.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we understand that behind each statistic, there is potentially a family dealing with a devastating aftermath. We have significant experience handling road traffic accidents, and we are here to help every step of the way. If you’d like more information get in touch today, or keep reading to find out all you need to know on drink and drug-driving.

What are the current drink and drug-driving limits in Scotland?

The current drink drive limit is:

  • 22 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath
  • 50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 67 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine

The drink and drug-drive limit in Scotland is stricter than in England, so just one small drink could put you over. The reason it’s measured as a percentage of alcohol in your breath, blood or urine rather than per units of alcohol, is because everybody processes alcohol in different ways, and the same drink can create different levels of alcohol for different people. This can be influenced by factors such as your weight, age, metabolism, medication or your stress levels.

Although it’s clear that you cannot safely drink any alcohol when driving, the reason the limit isn’t zero is because there’s more than one reason why drivers could have alcohol in their body other than from drinking. For example, certain foods, mouthwash and medications can contain alcohol.

Regarding the drug-driving limit, Scotland has a zero-tolerance approach to tackling illegal drugs and driving. No matter what kind of drugs someone may have taken, or how much, it is a crime to take illegal drugs and drive.

The police can stop you if they suspect you of drink or drug-driving, and if you are found to be over the drink drive limit or to have used illegal drugs, this is treated very seriously. The consequences are severe, ranging from receiving a criminal record, a minimum 12 month driving ban, the possibility of losing your job and receiving a substantial fine. Repeat offenders, or those that cause death due to careless driving, may even face the prospect of a prison sentence and a much longer driving ban.

Can an injured passenger claim against a drunk driver?

As always, the most important element of any claim for compensation is proving that someone else’s negligence caused you to be injured, through no fault of your own. In terms of typical passenger compensation claims, if you can prove that the driver caused the accident, the grounds for your claim would rest on the fact that you were owed a duty of care that you did not receive.

If a driver fails to show due care for their passengers’ safety, and their reckless or negligent driving results in serious injury, the passenger then has the right to claim for any damages which were a direct result of their injuries or loss.

For drink and drug-driving cases, this can be a little more complicated. You could still claim against a drunk driver if you were injured as a passenger in their vehicle that was involved in a car accident. Even if you yourself were drunk. Regardless of whether a passenger is drunk or not, a driver who causes an accident will invariably carry the lion’s share of responsibility for the accident.

However, when a passenger decides to be driven by a driver they knew, or ought to have known was drunk, that passenger may be liable for contributory negligence. Contributory negligence means that any compensation you are awarded would be reduced, owing to the fact that your choice to enter a vehicle with a drunk driver contributed to the injuries you sustained.

What do I do if I’m involved in a road traffic accident caused by drink or drug-driving?

We completely understand how distressing it is to be involved in a road traffic accident, especially if you are injured by someone drink or drug-driving. Just try your best to stay calm and remember as many details as you can, as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Try to record the following:

  • Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
  • Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
  • Accident date and time
  • Accident location
  • Full contact details of any witnesses

Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to always report the accident to the police.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

A Cyclist’s Guide to Staying Safe During the Winter Months

A Cyclist’s Guide to Staying Safe During the Winter Months

In recent years, the number of people choosing to cycle, whether it be for health benefits or as a way to get to work, has significantly increased throughout the UK. The popularity of cycling surged even more in 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, as more people than ever before were taking to their bikes as a safe, economical and environmentally friendly way to get around.

Research from Cycling Scotland has found that between 2020 and 2021, there has been a 47% rise in people regularly cycling. This is hugely welcome news to many of the key cycling organisations in both the UK and Scotland, as the more people cycling, the greater the effect on public health, wellbeing and climate change.

However, as one of the most vulnerable road users, this unfortunately increases the risk to cyclists from not only poor road conditions, faulty equipment or inattentive drivers, but also from the winter weather.

As the clocks go back, the nights get darker and winter creeps in, the risk of cyclists being involved in a road traffic accident increases by 19%. Further to this, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) the most dangerous time of day for cyclists is between 3pm and 6pm, as this is when the light is fading and there is an increased number of vehicles on the road alongside cyclists, as people head home from work.

If you are injured in a cycling accident this winter that isn’t your fault, get in touch with the team here at Bonnar Accident Law. We have significant experience handling these types of claims and will work tirelessly to win the maximum financial settlement possible. If you’d like more information get in touch today, or keep reading to find out our top tips for cycle safety this winter.

 

Cycling and the law

 

If you’re planning to cycle during the winter months, it’s important that you know the law. That is, that it’s illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without lights and reflectors to ensure you can be seen by other vehicles and pedestrians.

 

There is however, a little more to it than that. Exactly which lights and reflectors you should use, where to fit them and when to light up, is defined by the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations (RVLR). Cycling UK has an abundance of information on what’s legal and what isn’t when cycling on public roads, particularly in the dark.

 

In summary, the main points of the RVLR are that lights and reflectors are required on a pedal cycle only between sunset and sunrise, lights and reflectors are not required when the cycle is stationary or being pushed along the roadside and when they are required, the lights and reflectors must be clean and working properly.

 

Our top safety tips for cyclists

 

  1. See and be seen

One of the most important safety tips, especially for cycling during the cold and dark winter months, is to make sure that you’re visible to other road users. You don’t have to adorn yourself head to toe in high-vis, but items such as reflective ankle straps that can be seen whilst pedalling or high-vis gloves to increase the visibility of your hand signals, are worth the investment. When it comes to cycling in the dark or in rainy and foggy weather, your clothing can never be too bright.

 

  1. Check your lights

As we explained above, there is a legal minimum requirement when it comes to your lights and reflectors for cycling in the dark. Before you head off make sure your lights are in working order, and it can’t hurt to have a spare set or a charger, if required, with you. For particularly bad weather, flashing taillights as opposed to static taillights are also recommended, for riders to be more visible on the roads.

 

  1. Keep your bike in tip-top condition

Regular maintenance checks and cleaning greatly reduces your chance of running into problems on the road. If you’re planning to use your bike regularly over the winter period, it could be worth investing in some winter tyres. At the least, you should be checking your tyres are clean and fully pumped before heading out, to decrease the risk of puncture.

 

  1. Ride to the conditions

Ultimately, the weather plays a significant role in dictating how fast you can, and should, ride. Be prepared to take your time and take a spare set of clothes in case of any quick changes in the weather. If the weather turns really bad, be prepared to find another route or even consider an alternative mode of transport as cycling in severe frost or ice should only be undertaken with extreme caution, when there’s no other option.

 

  1. Be aware of road positioning

You may need to ride even further out from the kerb than usual to be extra-sure that drivers have seen you. Riding a little further out will also mean you are more likely to avoid drain covers and road markings, which will both be extra-slippery in the damp, and helps to avoid fallen leaves, road debris and the inevitable potholes winter brings.

 

  1. Be careful

It may seem obvious, but on top of all the typical hazards cyclists have to contend with, there’s far more hidden dangers on the roads during the dark winter months. Cycling at a slightly slower speed than you would usually, will help you with the unexpected. If the roads are icy or slippery, it’s even more important to reduce your speed and control your brakes, to allow for extra stopping time.

 

What to do if you are involved in a cycling accident

We completely understand how distressing it is to be involved in a cycling accident. Just try your best to stay calm and remember as many details as you can, as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Try to record the following:

 

  • Names, addresses and contact details of all involved
  • Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
  • Accident date and time
  • Accident location
  • Full contact details of any witnesses

 

Most importantly of course, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. Keep a record of any and all medication attention received. Lastly, remember to always report the accident to the police.

 

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

Winter Driving Safety Checklist

Winter Driving Safety Checklist

As the temperatures drop, the nights get darker, and the weather worsens, driving in winter can be difficult and potentially hazardous. Drivers need to manage all the usual dangers of the roads, as well as driving in potential snow, slippery ice, wind, heavy rain and freezing temperatures. In fact, according to Motor Easy, 21% of all crashes in the UK between December and March are linked to treacherous winter conditions.

The statistics are even higher for our Glasgow neighbours, as they came out on top as the city with the highest percentage of road collisions caused by winter weather. Almost 2 in 5 road traffic accidents that occur during the winter months in Glasgow are caused by the treacherous winter weather we experience each year.

With the news that here in Scotland, forecasters are predicting snow and freezing temperatures in the run up to Christmas 2021, we thought it was time for a refresh on how to drive safely in winter weather. As whilst you can’t control the weather, you can make sure that your car is ready and prepared for the unpredictable driving conditions that a Scottish winter brings, helping to keep both you and other drivers on the road, safe.

If you do get into a road traffic accident that isn’t your fault this winter, get in touch with the team here at Bonnar Accident Law. We have significant experience handling these types of claims and will work tirelessly to win the maximum financial settlement possible. If you’d like more information get in touch today, or keep reading to find out what’s on our winter driving safety checklist.

Winter Driving Preparation

Vehicle maintenance is vital year round, but with the added risks posed by winter weather, it’s more important than ever at this time of year to make sure your car is properly equipped. Poor vehicle maintenance combined with treacherous winter conditions can add up to some serious consequences on the roads. Here’s our top tips to make sure your car is prepped and ready for the winter weather:

  • Top Up your Windscreen wash

Check you have enough windscreen wash to for maximum visibility, ensuring that the type you’re using is suitable for cold conditions (many windscreen washes come with antifreeze to make sure it doesn’t freeze in temperatures as low as -10°C or even -20°C).

  • Check your Wiper Blades

Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition so they can clear heavy rainfall, snow, frost and dirt from your windscreen. Most blades are only good for around 6-12 months. They don’t cost much to replace and the safety benefits they provide are priceless.

  • Check your Battery

As the winter months creep, you’ll make more use of your car’s lights and heaters. As such, your car engine must work that much harder and therefore, is far more likely to die. If you’re waiting with the engine off, try to avoid using the heater and radio, as these will drain the battery and could leave you without enough power to re-start the engine. If you’ve had your battery for more than 5 years, it could be worth investing in a new one as we head into the winter period.

  • Check Your Lights

Make sure all your car lights are in good working order so you can see, and be seen, on dark evenings and rainy days. In wintry conditions there’s often a lot of dirty spray from the road surface that can coat and dim your car lights. Regularly give them a good wipe to help visibility and take a walk around the car before you head out to make sure they’re all working.

Winter Driving Tips

According to the AA, stopping distances can be 10 times longer when it’s icy so gentle manoeuvres and slow speeds are the key to safe driving in ice and snow. Before you head out, try to plan your route around major roads if possible as these are more likely to be cleared and gritted. Make sure that you have plenty fuel, at least a quarter tank, and be sure to clear all windows using a scraper and de-icer. Don’t set off until your windscreen is fully demisted.

When driving, try pull away in second gear not first, as this will allow for more control over the car. If manoeuvring or breaking, the key is to do so slowly and gently, so no harsh or quick movements that could unsettle the car.

Drive slowly, leaving plenty space between you and the car in front to allow for longer stopping in times, and in case of any unseen obstacles. If you’re driving uphill, leave plenty of room, try keep a constant speed and avoid changing gear whilst on the hill. If you’re driving downhill, slow down before you reach the hill, put yourself in a low gear, and avoid breaking.  

Winter Driving Essentials

Whilst some of these essentials are necessary year round, if you’re driving during the unpredictable winter weather, it’s crucially important to keep certain items tucked away in the boot of your car. In these situations, it’s better to be over prepared in case you are involved in a road traffic accident, in the snow or ice. Here’s our top picks for a Winter Car Survival Kit:

  • Ice scraper and de-icer
  • Torch and spare batteries
  • Fully charged phone and an in-car phone charger
  • First aid kit
  • Warm clothes, gloves, waterproofs and high-vis jackets
  • Sturdy footwear
  • Sunglasses for the winter sun
  • Hot drinks, water and snacks
  • Shovel
  • Jump start cables
  • Sat nav or printed route map

What to do if you are involved in a road traffic accident

We completely understand how distressing it is to be involved in a road traffic accident. Just try your best to stay calm and remember as many details as you can, as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Try to record the following:

  • Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
  • Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
  • Accident date and time
  • Accident location
  • Full contact details of any witnesses

Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to always report the accident to the police.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

The Personal Injury Horrors of Halloween How to Stay Safe

The Personal Injury Horrors of Halloween: How to Stay Safe

It’s that time of year again when the nights get darker, the air gets crisp, and the leaves turn a golden brown. Halloween is a night of spooks and scares filled with pumpkin carving, silly costumes and far too many sweets. However, with more people out and about over Halloween heading to fancy dress parties or out trick-or-treating, the various hazards could turn your night into a real-life horror movie.

According to data analysed by Churchill Car Insurance, the risk for young trick-or-treaters being hit by a car greatly increases during the Halloween period. October 31st sees a higher number of children aged 10 and under being hit by cars on Britain’s roads than at any other point during the four-week period around Halloween.

Tragically, road traffic incidents increase by 75% compared to the rest of the month, with 49 child pedestrians involved in road traffic accidents on Halloween in 2019.  This is near twice the average number for the two weeks before and after Halloween (17th October to 14th November).

We would advise parents to be extra vigilant when letting their children go trick-or-treating and to ensure that they are always accompanied, especially when leaving the house after dark. It is not just children who are at risk on Halloween either, as there is an average of 295 accidents involving adults on this day every year, which is 12 per cent higher than the annual average.

Although it’s the scariest night of the year, it’s not all doom and gloom and there are steps you can take to keep yourself and your family safe this Halloween. Get in touch today if you would like more information and advice or keep reading to find out our top tips for staying safe during the spooky season.

What are some of the most common personal injury dangers around Halloween?

There’s not one specific cause for the increased risk of injury around Halloween, rather it’s a dangerous combination of the darker nights, the higher number of children out and about, and unfortunately, the increased likelihood of drink driving from adults attending parties.

Some of the most common personal injury dangers around Halloween season include:

  • Pedestrian related road accidents when trick-or-treating
  • Road crash accidents involving drunk drivers
  • Chemical burns from fake blood and/or novelty products
  • Slips, trips and falls from Halloween displays

 

Am I liable if a child gets injured whilst trick-or-treating on my property?

If you’re stocking up on sweets ahead of Halloween night for any visiting trick-or-treaters, just remember that as a homeowner or an occupier of a property, you owe a duty of care to any visitors and you may find yourself liable if any accidents are caused by the dangerous condition of your property. This duty of care is a legal requirement under The Occupier’s Liability (Scotland) Act 1960 to ensure that your property is reasonably safe.

Make sure the outside of your property is sufficiently well-lit, so any visiting trick-or-treaters can identify and avoid any potential hazards such as raised slabs that they could trip over, or soggy leaves that could cause someone to slip and fall. Make sure to keep your pathway and any steps clear from both decorations and debris. If there are any defects you’re concerned about, it could be worth fencing this area off or displaying a clear warning notice.

How can I stay safe this Halloween?

With Halloween just around the corner, we want to make you and your family enjoy this time and keep yourselves as safe as possible during this spooky period. To stay safe, keep our top tips below in mind:

Top Tips for Drivers

  • Drivers should enter and exit driveways slowly.
  • Never drive under when tired or under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
  • Take extra care when driving in and around residential areas and keep a close eye out for children walking on the roads.

Top Tips for Trick-or-Treating

  • Make sure kids are accompanied by a responsible adult, especially when it’s dark.
  • Plan your route in advance so you’re comfortable with which houses you’ll be visiting. It’s best to stick to your own neighbourhood.
  • Stay in well-lit areas if possible but if not, make sure children have a flashlight or reflective clothing to increase their visibility.
  • Advise children to always look both ways before crossing the road.

Top Tips for Costumes

  • Be sure to choose fire-resistant costumes and wigs.
  • Make sure all face paint for Halloween is non-toxic and child safe.
  • Make sure that your child’s costume doesn’t create a tripping hazard and prevent them from being able to walk without risk of injury.

Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a Happy Halloween and we hope you have a safe and fun-filled night.

If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.

Road Traffic Accidents in Scotland Top 10 Most Dangerous Roads

Road Traffic Accidents in Scotland: Top 10 Most Dangerous Roads

Considering the vast number of cars on the road at any given time across the UK, it isn’t surprising that road traffic accidents occur on a daily basis up and down the country. Yet their frequency doesn’t negate from their seriousness, and we understand the devastation and disruption that these accidents can have on your life.

It isn’t of course an even picture across the UK, and tragically, Scotland has some of the worst injury and casualty rates from road traffic accidents. In fact, those living in the North-East of Scotland are the most likely in Britain to suffer a serious or fatal injury in a road traffic accident, with residents in the rural area of Banff and Buchan, more than twice as likely to be killed than the national average.

It is a worrying trend that is consistent throughout Scotland and although the rate of minor injuries is roughly the same as those of England and Wales, new statistics have shown that the rate of serious and fatal injuries is overall higher in Scotland. Here at Bonnar Accident Law, we deal with more road traffic crashes than any other form of accident. We have years of experience and the relevant expertise to fully understand your case. Get in touch today if you would like more information and advice or keep reading to find out some of the most hazardous stretches of road in Scotland.

 

Why are the road traffic accident rates in Scotland higher?

Whilst there are many factors that can contribute to or cause road traffic accidents, from a general lack of concentration all the way to drink driving, there are factors specific to Scotland that are likely the reason for the higher accident and casualty rates.

Scotland is home to many rural roads, especially in the North and whilst many may assume that rural roads are safer because they are quieter, they’re forgetting the many unseen hazards that muddy, windy and narrow rural roads can present. In fact, the Department for Transport’s figures shows that across all age groups, 57% of all fatalities occur on rural roads, with this increasing to 71% for young drivers aged between 17-24 years old.

Common causes of car accidents on rural roads include failure to look, loss of control, travelling too fast for the conditions and unmanaged accident blackspots. These blackspots are prevalent across Scotland and account for a higher-than-average number of road accidents, due to factors such as hidden or poorly signposted junctions, hidden dips in the road, and unexpected sharp bends on fast roads.

 

What are the most dangerous roads in Scotland?

Up to date statistics on the number of road traffic accidents which cause serious injury or fatality, were recently unveiled by the Scottish Government. The figures show that between the start of 2017 and the summer of 2019, there were 785 serious or fatal accidents on Scotland’s trunk roads. At least one person lost their life in 137 of these. The most dangerous road in Scotland, the A82, heads up the top 10 list. See the rest below:

  1. A82 (Glasgow to Inverness via Fort William)

  2. A9 (Falkirk to Thurso)

  3. A90 (Edinburgh to Fraserburgh via Dundee and Aberdeen)

  4. A77 (Glasgow to Portpatrick)

  5. A96 (Aberdeen to Inverness)

  6. M8 (Edinburgh to Glasgow)

  7. M74 (A74(M)) (Gretna to Glasgow)

  8. A85 (Perth to Oban)

  9. A92 (Dunfermline to Aberdeen)

  10. A83 (Argyll)

An accident hotspot that’s a little closer to home, is the Shawhead flyover in Coatbridge, on the doorstep of our Airdrie office. Installed as part of the M8/A8 improvement project, the flyover consists of crossroads with traffic lights, replacing the previously existing roundabouts. However, it has been branded a ‘death trap’ by many local residents and MSP’s due to the numerous accidents since its installation in 2019, the most recent of which occurred in March 2021.

 

What do I do if I’m injured in a road traffic accident in Scotland that wasn’t my fault?

We completely understand how distressing it is to be involved in a road traffic accident. Just try your best to stay calm and remember as many details as you can, as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Try to record the following:

  • Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
  • Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
  • Accident date and time
  • Accident location
  • Full contact details of any witnesses

Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to always report the accident to the police.

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.