Witnessing dangerous driving can be distressing, particularly if an accident or car crash is nearly caused due to recklessness, either with yourself or other people involved. If you see dangerous driving, whether that be an intoxicated and disorderly driver, an elderly driver seemingly with eyesight or co-ordination issues or just someone that seems to have little knowledge of the road or other drivers around them, it is important that the incident is reported to prevent them eventually causing something fatal. People can be reluctant to report an incident or something they have seen for fear of getting too involved, or even for fear of being seen as lying, and so unfortunately many incidents do go unseen and driver’s that are not fit to drive are still in possession of their licence. Logically, if you see anything suspicious or anything you consider as unsafe, you should report it straight to the DVLA to prevent any further harm, but is your report anonymous?
Reporting the Incident
The DVLA has a section on their website that allows you to fill in an incident form. The box at the bottom requires you to provide as many details as possible about the person you are reporting, their fitness to drive and if there were any incidents in particular you would like to report. The form does ask for all of your personal details such as your name, house number and email address but there is a statement on the form to tell you that your information will not be released to anyone or any third parties, meaning that whilst you are not reporting the incident(s) anonymously, there will be no way of anyone else knowing that it was you who reported the incident, other than officials at the DVLA. You will also be asked to provide the details of the driver in question, including his name, address etc. You will also be asked for their driving licence number if it is known. After the form has been submitted the DVA may get back in contact with you for further information and they will take the appropriate action. The DVLA general enquiries form offers the chance to report on a lot of subject matters, the subject you will need when reporting a driving incident will be ‘I have concerns over a person’s fitness to drive and I wish to tell the DVLA.’
It has been reported in the past that GPS’s should tell the DVLA if they treat patients that are not medically fit to drive. If you are not medically fit to drive and the doctor has declared it so, it is the law that you hand your licence back to the DVLA and take a break from driving. The quicker you surrender your licence, the quicker you will be able to get back to driving once you are back on your feet. The report by BT said that GP’s have a duty of protection to inform authorities if they have declared a patient as unfit and they are still continuing to drive. GP’s do not need a patient’s consent to do this. Chief executive of the GMC, Niall Dickson stressed that whilst doctor’s do guarantee confidentiality between them and a patient, they are not risking their position should they report their continuous driving (despite being warned) to the DVLA. Dickson wants to remind doctors that confidentiality is not absolute, and reporting a dangerous driver is far more important. If you have a loved one that you suspect is not fit to drive, advise they visit a GP and get their opinion, a research survey shows that people are more likely to listen to their GP than they would to a friend or family member when it comes to the safety of their driving.
The DVLA will issue endorsements (or points as they are better known) onto the licence of anyone that has been caught by the police to be driving dangerously and breaking the law. The number of points given varies depending on the offence, and in some cases a driver will face a ban from driving. If a driver is issued more than 12 points in three years, they will have their licence revoked, and they will have to re-apply. If you have only just started driving and get caught doing it dangerously, you can not only have your licence revoked, you can also be asked to re-sit both your driving and theory tests.
Alternatively, if you witness dangerous driving you can always report it to the police, which will then be passed onto the DVLA. Any police reports allow you to remain anonymous. If you are wondering what constitutes as dangerous driving, here are some of the types that should be reported if they occur:
- Driving aggressively/speeding (going above the speed limit)/racing another driver
- Overtaking when it is not safe to do so
- Being unfit through intoxication (drugs, alcohol etc)
- Being unfit through medical reasons (injury, mental illness, poor eyesight etc)
- Talking on a hand held mobile phone/texting whilst driving
- Driving when too tired/falling asleep