Following on from our article about The Price of Vanity and how it may result in careless driving charges, it seems that men are also at risk of falling foul of the law to tend to their appearance whilst behind the wheel.

As reported in the Manchester Evening News, a man has been given a fine of £100 and 3 penalty points to be endorsed on his licence for shaving during his morning commute. Princess Road is one of Manchester’s busiest roads and it is small surprise that officers decided to pull the motorist over having spotted him with his electric shaver in-hand.

The officer in this case decided to issue a Traffic Offence Report for “not being in proper control of a motor vehicle” which may fall under section 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988
Greater Manchester Police tweeted about the incident: “Princess Road Hough End. Driver using shaver whilst driving to work TOR issued £100 3pts” possibly as a warning to other motorists who may be tempted to finish getting ready for work during their journey.

The Difference Between Careless Driving and section 41D Road Traffic Act 1988

Section 41D RTA 1988 is quite broad and states:

“A person who contravenes or fails to comply with a construction and use requirement—

(a) as to not driving a motor vehicle in a position which does not give proper control or a full view of the road and traffic ahead, or not causing or permitting the driving of a motor vehicle by another person in such a position, or

(b) as to not driving or supervising the driving of a motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone or other hand-held interactive communication device, or not causing or permitting the driving of a motor vehicle by another person using such a telephone or other device,

is guilty of an offence.”

In some ways, this is just shy of a careless driving charge. With Careless or Dangerous Driving there needs to be some evidence of a reduced standard of driving but under section 41D, this element is not required. All that is required is the officer’s opinion that a motorist may not be in proper control of his vehicle and this may be due to fiddling with the radio, drinking from a bottle, applying makeup or, as in this case, holding a handheld shaving device.

Had this particular motorist swerved slightly, or had his speed fluctuated, the officer could easily argue that his standard of driving had fallen below what is expected of a competent driver and brought the slightly more serious charge of careless driving. The penalty for this offence can range between 3 – 9 penalty points, possible disqualification and a fine of up to £5000.00.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (@RoadSafety)

Shaving whilst driving is clearly a distraction and any distraction (regardless of how minor) can have potentially fatal consequences. Insurers estimate that up to 450,000 accidents per annum occur are as a result of motorists being distracted whilst applying make-up but there seems to be no specific statistics for offences from male drivers.  A spokesperson for The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents re-iterated the concerns of many motoring experts by saying:

“Driving requires concentration and even a momentary lapse could turn a near-miss into a serious or even fatal accident. Common sense says apply make-up before or after driving.”

In summary, shaving at the wheel or applying makeup is not worth the risk. Ruth Peters gave sound advice in her last post which I would reiterate here: Always wait until you arrive at your destination before applying cosmetics or you could always try the ‘au naturale’ look!”

Given that we are still in the middle of a “beard-boom”, is shaving really that essential that you have to do it in your car?

Need help from a specialist Road Traffic Law Solicitor?

Neil Sargeant is a motor law specialist at Olliers Motor Law. If you have been prosecuted for an offence of driving without due care and attention or dangerous driving give the team at Olliers Motor Law a call on 0808 168 0017 and they can advise you on the options available.

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