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Police Fine For Snow On Cars Is H&S Myth

When your wife, husband, boyfriend or other family member or friend tells you that the police are clamping down on drivers for a safety violation relating to snow being on their car roof and fining them £60 fixed penalty, you can safely tell them that any emails or verbal rumours stating this are just once again health & safety myths.

Such is the extent of this email and text 'urban lie' that CWU's Dave Joyce has had to issues a letter to branches to advise this is just a scam.

That said, Dave advises in LTB1138/10 that there is nothing new in the Police having powers and discretion to take action and can hand out punishment for either dangerous driving or driving without due care and attention if they deem a driver's behaviour constitutes dangerous or careless driving or an accident is caused in contravention of the Highway Code.

The LTB goes on to advise:

"Rule 229 states that drivers should "remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users". The rule clearly indicates that it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that the vehicle does not have any mass of snow on top of it, before driving it out on to the road, which could be dangerous to the driver and other drivers that are using the road. If a mass of snow falls forward onto the Windshield or falls off from the roof of the car in to the road, it could possibly pose a risk to other drivers in respect of lost control. Although a  number of Police Forces have pointed out drivers should take heed of these safety considerations, the Police have dismissed as an urban myth claims that they were about to start dishing out fines and penalty points for snow on vehicle roofs."

With regard to the idea that the police are embarking upon a campaign to fine drivers this winter for having snow on their cars, the LTB states:

" Spokespersons for Suffolk Police, Greater Manchester Police, Lothian and Borders Police,  South Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire Police, Northumbria Police and other forces have claimed the warning should not be taken seriously and dismissed rumours that they had been dishing out fines to motorists for driving with snow on their car roof. The Police Forces denied claims that they were targeting drivers. They agreed that they do not have a policy of targeting people with snow on their car roof. There is no specific legislation on driving with snow on the roof of a vehicle but Police can apply discretion in certain cases as described above if driving is considered dangerous or without due care and attention or inconsiderate."

Whilst this is a hoax, Dave rightly points out in conclusion:

" Thus, while the "warning" is a hoax, it is nonetheless advisable for drivers to ensure that excessive snow is removed from the roof of vehicles before setting out. Police in the UK have regularly advised drivers to remove snow from vehicle roofs before setting out, especially in severe or challenging weather. Failure to do so could compromise road safety and drivers could indeed be penalized. However, these facts do not, in any way, legitimize the false claims in this hoax message."

Source: CWU LTB1138/10

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