How to complain about bad driving.

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Shootist
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How to complain about bad driving.

Postby Shootist » 4 Nov 2012, 8:51pm

I’ve read quite a few posts here about the futility of cyclists complaining to the police about bad driving of car drivers. So, here’s a guide as to how I think it can best be done. For those of you who think it too much trouble I can only say stop your futile whining on BBSs and at the tea shops as it’s utterly pointless.
It is not nearly as difficult as it might seem for what follows. Feel free to offer imrovements.

Here’s a few things for starters.
1. The police will almost certainly fail to prosecute anyone involved in an incident of which they are unaware. So bloody well report it. Also, if cyclists are being carved up regularly on a particular road and these events are not reported to the police and the council then both of those ‘organisations’ can, and will, deny there is a problem.
2. There has to be some fairly good evidence. Video cameras, witnesses, audio recordings, all are good. But, sometimes you have to accept that there is insufficient evidence and move on.
3. But, if you have gone to the bother of gathering the evidence, then why on earth waste it? You may end up saving someone’s life in the future if you pursue your complaint. It’s that serious.
4. Police officers today are only interested in whatever the police officers of today are interested in today. It’s an unfortunate fact that they do not care to be directed towards doing their job, so you have to apply pressure to persuade them.

So, let’s assume you have evidence, you’ve made the effort at the scene, written down car numbers, obtained the details of witnesses, photographed the scene etc. and finally, and most importantly, it isn’t your own stupid fault.

(A classic example of a good complaint is the left hooker video posted on this forum that I have commented upon previously. Perhaps the OP will be kind enough to post a link on this thread.)

There are two types of incident, one where the police attend, and the other where they don’t. I’ll start with the one where they don’t.

You have all the details and evidence. You have written them down in that little note book you carry with the little pen you also carry. As soon as you get home and have had your first cup of tea, you call the police (not 999) and tell them you wish to report a case of dangerous driving. Don’t bother to try and get it right about careless or inconsiderate. That doesn’t matter. You will be asked for your details which you will obviously supply. It is possible, even probable, that the person you speak to will suggest that there is insufficient evidence or to otherwise put you off. Ignore their advice as they are mostly call handlers who have no interest whatever in you or your problems. Here’s a list of things to insist upon.

1. That you wish to see a police officer to make a complaint of a criminal offence i.e. dangerous driving.
2. Insist you are given an incident number for your complaint.
3. Insist that (if there was no accident as defined in the road traffic act) the incident includes a requirement that the officer it is allocated to sends a written Notice Of Intended Prosecution (NIP) immediately he receives the report. Ask the call handler to confirm that this has been included in the incident report.
4. Make sure that the call handler has noted correctly the vehicle registration, type, colour, etc. correctly.
5. Ensure that the call handler notes that you have video evidence and witnesses etc. (assuming you have).
That should signal the end of phase 1. Note, on the above, they may not follow the sequence I have listed, but make sure they are all there.

Now for phase 2.

If you have video. Make copies. Lots of copies. On CD as well as all over your hard drive/s.
Then, as soon as is practicable and very much preferably the same day, sit and write or type a full summary of the event. Include:
1) Time, day, date, location of the incident.
2) Weather conditions, visibility, road surface conditions, traffic flow.
3) A basic sketch plan of the scene and what went where. Include a pointer to the north.
4) Time day and date you wrote this summary and prepared any video evidence.
Have another cup of tea.

Phase three. This can depend upon what the police do and when they do it, or not, as the case may be.
If you have not heard from them after no more than three days, phone up and, referring to the incident number (which you wrote down, didn’t you) and ask what is happening. Make particular reference to the NIP and ask if it has been sent. If the answer is not a definite yes, accompanied by details of who sent it and when, ask for a reminder to be sent. The NIP is vital in a non-accident complaint of dangerous / careless / inconsiderate driving and a few other relevant offences as if it isn’t sent within 14 days of the incident, there can be no prosecution. Be sure to press this point.

When, assuming one does, the police officer visits, make your statement and press for prosecution. Hand over copies of your notes and a video CD if requested, which you should be, at least in the case of the CD, and almost certainly your notes also. Make sure you retain copies as if you appear at court you can refer to these notes to assist you.

With luck you are now waiting to hear if you are going to have to attend court. CPS (Couldn’t Prosecute Satan) will have to make a decision. At the very least the driver will have had an NIP and a notice to require the ID of the driver at the time of the incident, which might buck his ideas up a bit.
Note that if the driver is prosecuted and pleads guilty you won’t have to appear in court. The police should keep you informed of what is happening, particularly in reference to any court proceedings, but they usually will not. Too much time and effort.

Part the next will follow for if the police fail in their duty, for then they must be taken to task.
Pacifists cannot accept the statement "Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.", despite it being "grossly obvious."
[George Orwell]

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scottmac
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby scottmac » 7 Nov 2012, 11:21am

Shootist wrote:I’ve read quite a few posts here about the futility of cyclists complaining to the police about bad driving of car drivers. So, here’s a guide as to how I think it can best be done. For those of you who think it too much trouble I can only say stop your futile whining on BBSs and at the tea shops as it’s utterly pointless.
It is not nearly as difficult as it might seem for what follows. Feel free to offer improvements.

I have done what you have said in your post and it all depends on what borough you live in.

At times the police have taken action and other times they don't.

It seems the law in this country has to be changed regarding dangerous drivers before any real action will be taken. Until then we will all sit and moan and do nowt. Cyclists are their own worst enemy as they all agree that good driving standards by motorists are declining, but they can't agree on what to do to deter this and the CPS will not uphold the law as they think killing a cyclist is not a crime.

Unless we unite as one force to change the law, then nothing will happen.


ps. I followed a sportive the other day in my car. The standards of bike control by some of the cyclists were bloody atrocious also! :(

Queue ten pages of moaning and nowt comes of it...

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meic
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby meic » 7 Nov 2012, 11:29am

The standards of bike control by some of the cyclists were bloody atrocious also!


Did you mean that they were physically unable to control their bikes due to lack of ability or that they didnt have a clue or care about what they should be doing on the public highway?
Yma o Hyd

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scottmac
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby scottmac » 7 Nov 2012, 11:40am

meic wrote:
The standards of bike control by some of the cyclists were bloody atrocious also!


Did you mean that they were physically unable to control their bikes due to lack of ability or that they didnt have a clue or care about what they should be doing on the public highway?


At times I saw cyclists three abreast (for several hundred metres) followed by wheel overlap in a bunch, one guy had an iPod plugged in his ears and as they turned a corner a few strayed over into oncoming traffic and one fellow's front wheel skidded as he rode over gravel in the middle of the road.

Make of that as you will.

Shootist
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby Shootist » 7 Nov 2012, 5:39pm

scottmac wrote:I have done what you have said in your post and it all depends on what borough you live in.

At times the police have taken action and other times they don't.

It seems the law in this country has to be changed regarding dangerous drivers before any real action will be taken. Until then we will all sit and moan and do nowt. Cyclists are their own worst enemy as they all agree that good driving standards by motorists are declining, but they can't agree on what to do to deter this and the CPS will not uphold the law as they think killing a cyclist is not a crime.

Unless we unite as one force to change the law, then nothing will happen.


It is true that some forces are more interested, or rather less uninterested, than others. for those I will endeavour to post a part two detailing how to combat this lack of interest. The law doen't need changing, neither do we need new laws. The issue is simple evidence, backed by the police taking an interest. Easier said than done.

Evidence first then. There is a post here somewhere about a car pulling out onto a roundabout in the dark in wet weather. The OP seems to think that this could be a classic careless driving case, if I interpret the OP's opinions correctly. The sad fact is that the evidence presented will simply not convict. OTOH, another keen camera wallah posted four clips, one of which would be a racing certainty for a careless driving. But the offence has to have been committed, and there has to be sufficient evidence to pursue it with a reasonable chance of conviction.

Then you have to tackle the reluctance of the police / CPS to take any meaningful action. The person who tells you no action will be taken, or simply takes no action is not the end of the story. You just have to be prepared to dig your heels in. This may mean making a formal complaint about the officer/s involved, supported by your MP.

I hate to hear people saying "Someody ought to do something." While it's true, they almost always mean that somebody else should do something, rather than getting off their lazy backside and doing something themselves.
Pacifists cannot accept the statement "Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.", despite it being "grossly obvious."
[George Orwell]

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scottmac
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby scottmac » 7 Nov 2012, 7:29pm

It is true that some forces are more interested, or rather less uninterested, than others. for those I will endeavour to post a part two detailing how to combat this lack of interest. The law doen't need changing, neither do we need new laws. The issue is simple evidence, backed by the police taking an interest. Easier said than done.

Then you have to tackle the reluctance of the police / CPS to take any meaningful action. The person who tells you no action will be taken, or simply takes no action is not the end of the story. You just have to be prepared to dig your heels in. This may mean making a formal complaint about the officer/s involved, supported by your MP.

Interesting theory.

My mate was killed by a "driver" of a motor vehicle whom was on the wrong side of the road, he had no licence, no MOT, no insurance, no tax and his mother in the passenger seat next to him. A typical CHAV (Council Housed And Violent).

My friend whom was lawfully riding his bicycle, was thrown eighteen feet in the air (by eyewitness accounts) and his neck was broken and killed instantly.

The chav didn't even arrive at court to be sentenced, and then again, he only received a measly fine when he was ordered to return by the judge.

Oh, I forgot to add, my friend was a police officer.

If the police/law can't press charges that can stick against an individual whom slaughtered one of their own and the judge can't be bother to pass even a minimum sentence - then what hope have the rest of us?

http://www.stopdangerousdrivers.com/

thirdcrank
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby thirdcrank » 7 Nov 2012, 7:44pm

I'd suggest the first thing to do is to decide what you want to achieve. I'd suggest that in most cases, the only point of reporting specific offending is to start an investigation with a view to a prosecution. I'd recommend anybody collecting evidence by video to think about this as soon as they fit the camera. It's no good going off with a bang then getting cold feet as the days pass by or when the court warning arrives.

(I've read all sorts of accounts on here of a report to the police of bad driving being met with an assurance that the alleged offender would receive a firm but informal warning. I've posted before that I think this is a crafty form of fobbing off: ie one which presumably leaves the irate complainer satisfied and with a warm inner glow: all with no effort and so much better than "Sorry there's nothing we can do about it ....." )

As well as having a general strategy, I'd say think carefully about an individual case. Others (eg meic) have suggested it's best to hold off complaining until you have a real belter to avoid being labelled a nuisance or even a nutter. Try and look critically at your evidence - especially video - thinking how it would appear when screened to others. Be sure that your own behaviour has been exemplary.

shootist has rightly advised copying the video but any hint of editing is taboo. IMO an edited video is effectively useless here. Once you have made a working copy, preserve the original recording as safely as possible. Working copies are disposable, but the original is likely to be a court exhibit and is, therefore, very important. An investigating officer taking a witness statement would normally include reference to any evidence to be produced eg after the witness's detailed explanation of how the video came to be made, they would include something like "... I have handed this memory card to PC xxx and I have signed a label identifying this exhibit."

========================================================================

Whether the legal system is a waste of time is a different question, IMO, but it's certainly a waste of time bothering with reports to the police if you do think it's all a waste of time. In my lifetime I've see various changes to police priorities and traffic enforcement is one that's gone down and is still falling. The things that have gone up the charts have done so through persistant pressure from people who wanted more to be done.

Shootist
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby Shootist » 7 Nov 2012, 8:44pm

scottmac wrote:Interesting theory.

My mate was killed by a "driver" of a motor vehicle whom was on the wrong side of the road, he had no licence, no MOT, no insurance, no tax and his mother in the passenger seat next to him. A typical CHAV (Council Housed And Violent).

My friend whom was lawfully riding his bicycle, was thrown eighteen feet in the air (by eyewitness accounts) and his neck was broken and killed instantly.

The chav didn't even arrive at court to be sentenced, and then again, he only received a measly fine when he was ordered to return by the judge.

Oh, I forgot to add, my friend was a police officer.

If the police/law can't press charges that can stick against an individual whom slaughtered one of their own and the judge can't be bother to pass even a minimum sentence - then what hope have the rest of us?

http://www.stopdangerousdrivers.com/


OK, I'll probably sound quite callous here, but that is not my intention. But there are some facts to be extracted. The lack of licence, isnurance or MOT, or having the mother in the front seat next to him, are all irrelevant to the cause of the death of the cyclist. None of these things alone will cause the death of anyone. It is also irrelevant that the cyclist was a police officer, or that the police and/or CPS would, or indeed should, do anything more than they would do for anyone else.

All that is left is the car driver being on the wrong side of the road. Without knowing the full facts of the case, and in particular when this happened as driving offences have changed over the years, what we are left with is a careless driving. The court will have had to ask itself the question, "What would the penalty be had the cyclist not been there and this driving event had taken place without harm? Without knowing the circumstances I can offer no more comment, but it is certainly possible that an apparently over light sentence could be given while remaining entirely within the sentencing guidelines.
Pacifists cannot accept the statement "Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.", despite it being "grossly obvious."
[George Orwell]

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scottmac
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby scottmac » 7 Nov 2012, 8:44pm

I'll make it a bit clearer for you.

CHAV with no car licence knocks off-duty policeman off bike and kills him. CPS don't prosecute. CHAV walks free.

What hope has Joe Soap got to get proper justice?

Shootist
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby Shootist » 7 Nov 2012, 8:50pm

thirdcrank wrote:I'd suggest the first thing to do is to decide what you want to achieve. I'd suggest that in most cases, the only point of reporting specific offending is to start an investigation with a view to a prosecution. I'd recommend anybody collecting evidence by video to think about this as soon as they fit the camera. It's no good going off with a bang then getting cold feet as the days pass by or when the court warning arrives.

(I've read all sorts of accounts on here of a report to the police of bad driving being met with an assurance that the alleged offender would receive a firm but informal warning. I've posted before that I think this is a crafty form of fobbing off: ie one which presumably leaves the irate complainer satisfied and with a warm inner glow: all with no effort and so much better than "Sorry there's nothing we can do about it ....." )

As well as having a general strategy, I'd say think carefully about an individual case. Others (eg meic) have suggested it's best to hold off complaining until you have a real belter to avoid being labelled a nuisance or even a nutter. Try and look critically at your evidence - especially video - thinking how it would appear when screened to others. Be sure that your own behaviour has been exemplary.

shootist has rightly advised copying the video but any hint of editing is taboo. IMO an edited video is effectively useless here. Once you have made a working copy, preserve the original recording as safely as possible. Working copies are disposable, but the original is likely to be a court exhibit and is, therefore, very important. An investigating officer taking a witness statement would normally include reference to any evidence to be produced eg after the witness's detailed explanation of how the video came to be made, they would include something like "... I have handed this memory card to PC xxx and I have signed a label identifying this exhibit."

========================================================================

Whether the legal system is a waste of time is a different question, IMO, but it's certainly a waste of time bothering with reports to the police if you do think it's all a waste of time. In my lifetime I've see various changes to police priorities and traffic enforcement is one that's gone down and is still falling. The things that have gone up the charts have done so through persistant pressure from people who wanted more to be done.


Sound advice. As an additiion to the no editing, the counsel of perfection would be to copy the entire video to CD, seal it in a secure container such as a DVD case, wrap it securely in many layers of parcel tape, affix a post label with the same tape on the edges, address it to yourself and post it the next day recorded delivery. When it arrives, don't open it. You have there reasonable proof that it has not been tamered with. While it is perfectly possible to edit such video footage, it is well beyond the abilities of even the most competent home user to do so in a manner undetectable within a day or so, or even quite a few days. Probably not necessary, but it may be worth considering. Do two for what extra time and money it would cost.
Pacifists cannot accept the statement "Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.", despite it being "grossly obvious."
[George Orwell]

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scottmac
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby scottmac » 7 Nov 2012, 8:54pm

OK, I'll probably sound quite callous here, but that is not my intention. But there are some facts to be extracted. The lack of licence, isnurance or MOT, or having the mother in the front seat next to him, are all irrelevant to the cause of the death of the cyclist. None of these things alone will cause the death of anyone. It is also irrelevant that the cyclist was a police officer, or that the police and/or CPS would, or indeed should, do anything more than they would do for anyone else.

All that is left is the car driver being on the wrong side of the road. Without knowing the full facts of the case, and in particular when this happened as driving offences have changed over the years, what we are left with is a careless driving. The court will have had to ask itself the question, "What would the penalty be had the cyclist not been there and this driving event had taken place without harm? Without knowing the circumstances I can offer no more comment, but it is certainly possible that an apparently over light sentence could be given while remaining entirely within the sentencing guidelines.

Yes, I realise that having his fat bloated excuse of a mother in the front seat is irrelavant in the death of my friend. How stupid of me. :roll: I was trying to portray the typical pondlife element that have no deterrent in driving like a prat.

Re. It is also irrelevant that the cyclist was a police officer
Thank you again. :?

Re. Without knowing the full facts of the case, and in particular when this happened as driving offences have changed over the years, what we are left with is a careless driving.
The idiot was taking a corner at speed in a non-road worthy car. He lost control of a car that he was not licensed to drive and killed my friend.

If that is the sentencing guidelines, then I am glad I've hung up my wheels. :evil:

I'll tell his widow it is OK shall I?

Shootist
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby Shootist » 7 Nov 2012, 8:57pm

scottmac wrote:I'll make it a bit clearer for you.

CHAV with no car licence knocks off-duty policeman off bike and kills him. CPS don't prosecute. CHAV walks free.

What hope has Joe Soap got to get proper justice?


Very little hope indeed if all Joe Soap does is to say things like "What hope has Joe Soap got to get proper justice?"

What is that famous saying? "For evil to triumph, it only needs good men to remain silent."

I feel sorry for your friend, and for your loss. But, as you have raised this on a forum, please tell me what you did about this. I assume that with such strong feelings you must have done quite a lot.
Pacifists cannot accept the statement "Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf.", despite it being "grossly obvious."
[George Orwell]

thirdcrank
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby thirdcrank » 7 Nov 2012, 9:02pm

scottmac

You are obviously upset and I can see why, but your description of the events has left me confused eg

CPS don't prosecute.
and

The chav didn't even arrive at court to be sentenced,


seem to be contradictory.

Is there a link to a reasonably detailed report of the proceedings in a local paper, or similar?

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scottmac
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby scottmac » 7 Nov 2012, 9:30pm

Shootist wrote:
scottmac wrote:I'll make it a bit clearer for you.

CHAV with no car licence knocks off-duty policeman off bike and kills him. CPS don't prosecute. CHAV walks free.

What hope has Joe Soap got to get proper justice?


Very little hope indeed if all Joe Soap does is to say things like "What hope has Joe Soap got to get proper justice?"

What is that famous saying? "For evil to triumph, it only needs good men to remain silent."

I feel sorry for your friend, and for your loss. But, as you have raised this on a forum, please tell me what you did about this. I assume that with such strong feelings you must have done quite a lot.

I was working abroad at the time of the incident and sadly only learned of it when I arrived home a few months later. I've been making a few phone calls since you posted this to get the facts as it happened several years ago.
The CPS wanted to to charge said chav with manslaughter, but couldn't get it. He was 21 (or so) and a learner without supervision. Apparently he had been driving around with his mates all day - showing off. Chav said he hit a bump in the road (there was no bump - said plod). Chav was doing 40mph in a 30mph zone as he was arguing with his mother at the time of incident.

They didn't take the case any further as his widow thought that not much could be done.

Re. Very little hope indeed if all Joe Soap does is to say things like "What hope has Joe Soap got to get proper justice?"
I have attended rallies, written to several MP's, been knocked off my bike and dragged the car driver out and flattened him in frustration (that felt great by the way!). I've attended meetings around the country, so I don't know what else I can do, so I'm storing my bikes in the attic, until I move abroad in a few years.

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scottmac
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Re: How to complain about bad driving.

Postby scottmac » 7 Nov 2012, 9:37pm

thirdcrank wrote:scottmac

You are obviously upset and I can see why, but your description of the events has left me confused eg

CPS don't prosecute.
and

The chav didn't even arrive at court to be sentenced,


seem to be contradictory.

Is there a link to a reasonably detailed report of the proceedings in a local paper, or similar?

See post above. I've googled it and can't find anything as it was a few years ago. I'm not going to post my friend's name on the net.