One in five motorists risking jail over ‘harmless’ driving offence

One in five motorists risking jail over ‘harmless’ driving offence
One in five motorists risking jail over ‘harmless’ driving offence

Lying about who committed a driving offence or getting someone else to accept your penalty points might seem harmless but it’s illegal and could land you in serious trouble.

Labour MP Fiona Onasanya appeared in court yesterday accused of misinforming police about who was responsible for driving a speeding vehicle.

She denies the charge but if convicted faces potential jail time for what some drivers perceive as a minor infraction.

Read more: Here’s how much a speeding fine will really cost you

Taking the blame

A recent survey found that one in five drivers had accepted points for another motorist – often taking the blame for speeding offences caught on camera.

While speeding offences usually carry penalty points and a fine, deliberately blaming someone else or accepting the blame for the offence can be regarded as perverting the course of justice, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Speeding offences usually carry a fine and penalty points but lying about who committed them could lead to jail time

Although the sentence is unlikely to be that severe, drivers have been jailed for months after being convicted of perverting the course of justice by lying about who was responsible for a driving offence.

In 2013 for MP Chris Huhne and his wife Vicky Pryce were both sentenced to eight months in prison after she accepting his speeding points. And earlier this year a Yorkshire company director received the same sentence for perverting the course of justice after using a laser jammer to thwart speed cameras.

Making money

The Co-op Insurance study revealed that many drivers accepted the blame for an offence to keep someone else – their spouse in half of cases – out of trouble.

Their reasons ranged from their insurance being so cheap that the points wouldn’t affect them (27 per cent) to protecting someone from being banned from driving (23 per cent) or even simple financial gain (18 per cent).

But higher premiums should be the least of their worries with the threat of a jail term – and a hefty fine – hanging over them and the driver who actually committed the offence.

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