Driving offences increase among Keralite students in UK: Beware of dashcam footage, airport taxi runs, speeding and drink driving
Tuesday 29 November 2022 7:59 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON Nov 28: There has been a recent spurt in driving offences where Keralite students have been involved with. In most of the cases it was obvious that the driver, mostly those who arrived in the UK recently, were not aware of the driving system in the UK.
Compared to driving in Kerala, the UK has a more systematised way of following driving and safety rules. Also, it is a fact that other drivers will report you if you do not follow the rules. We look at a few offences where Keralite students were part of.
Road accidents leading to death
In the last three years at least between 7 and 10 newly arrived Keralites have died following driving accidents. Community involvement reveals that the deaths could have been avoided if proper safety precautions were taken. The deaths also include where a student (co-passenger) died while another student was driving. The case is still ongoing in the UK on the basis that it was the student driver’s fault to have caused the death of the co-passenger.
Drink driving and speeding
There has been a spurt of drink driving cases where solicitor firms have been helping Keralite students to submit defence statements. However, vast majority of the defence statements have gone with no positive outcome for the offending driver as they had to either pay the fine, attend a course or have the points taken off from their driving licence. Having a driving licence in the UK is important to your job and studies and therefore, if you lose your licence you are also inflicting a heavy cost to your future.
There has also been occasions when dash cam footages were handed over to police when someone is found to be driving dangerously. This website is aware of two cases where the Keralite students were reported to the police by natives (other drivers) by handing over the dashcam footage which showed them to be driving dangerously which could have resulted in the death of someone else. Therefore, beware, it is not just the cameras that are watching you. You may be recorded by dashcam videos installed in other cars.
Airport runs or Taxi service
There has also been report of Keralite students doing taxi runs to make money to support them while being in the country. This is also regarded as an offence as someone without a valid third party licence is putting the passenger in danger and it is against the law to do such jobs. If by chance something goes wrong while on your trip to the airport, it will result in the loss for the traveller which you will have to compensate.
Reports state that there were instances when some students following an accident were referred to their GP for follow up treatement. However, it appeared that they are not registered yet. It is important you register with the GP. To register, you will need to visit the doctor’s surgery or clinic during consulting hours, taking a letter from your institution as proof that you are a student, along with your passport and any loose immigration documents. You should ask to be added to the list of National Health Service (NHS) patients. The immigration health surcharge will entitle students to access the NHS in the UK at no additional cost in the same way as a permanent UK resident. This includes at the Doctor’s surgery (known as General Practitioner or GP), a Healthcare Centre or in a hospital.
It is strongly recommended that Keralite students do take a course in driving from instructors here in the UK so that they can familiarise with the driving rules in the UK. It is also imperative that they familiarise with the The Highway Code, road safety and vehicle rules
Important Information For Student Drivers
It is estimated that 1 in 3 people in the UK will be involved in a car accident during their lifetime. Therefore, it is important for all drivers to be aware of the dangers around them, and to drive carefully. The driving system in the UK is entirely different from other countries. To drive in the UK, you need a valid Driving License, Insurance and MOT Certificate.
Important points to note about driving in the UK, before your arrival here:
In some countries, you may use your home country driving licence in the UK for up to a year, after which you will need to apply for a UK license. If your home country driving license is not recognised in the UK or you want to continue to drive after the 1 year allowance has expired you will need to obtain a UK license.- Apply for your full driving licence (www.gov.uk)
When applying for a driving license the first thing you will need to do is check that you are allowed to drive, this includes requirements for yourself, your vehicle and making sure you have all the right documents. You can find out about these requirements here – Legal obligations of drivers and riders (www.gov.uk)
Before you can start taking driving lessons you will need to apply for a provisional license, which you can do through this link – Apply for your first provisional driving licence (www.gov.uk). The cost of a provisional license is between £34 – £43 pounds.
After you have done this, you will be able to start driving lessons and preparing for your theory test.
In order to obtain a UK driving license you will need to have passed both your theory test and your practical test You must have reached the minimum age to drive a vehicle in the United Kingdom. You must be:
17 years or over to ride a motorcycle with a cylinder capacity not exceeding 125cc, or power not exceeding 11kW
19 years or over to ride a motorcycle not exceeding 35kW, and
21 years or older to ride a motorcycle unlimited in size/power
17 years old or more to drive a car
A provisional (learner’s) driving licence issued abroad is not valid for use in the United Kingdom.
Information regarding driving rules, regulations and penalties
Please ensure you are within the speed limit, which will be displayed on signage. If in doubt, speed limits tend to be 20mph in school zones, 30mph in residential areas, 40-50mph on dual carriageways and 70mphs on motorways. These speeds will vary depending on the type of vehicle you own; more information can be found through this link – Speed limits– (www.gov.uk)
Seat belts and children in cars
If fitted, seat belts must be worn in the front and rear of vehicles by all occupants.
Children under 3 years old
Must use a child restraint appropriate for their age/weight in any vehicle (including vans and other goods vehicles).
The only exception is that a child under 3 may travel unrestrained in the rear of a taxi if the right child restraint is not available.
Rear-facing baby seats must not be used in a seat protected by a frontal airbag unless the airbag has been deactivated.
Children 3 to 11 years and under 135cm in height
Must always use an appropriate child restraint when travelling in front seat
Must use correct child restraint in the rear where adult seat belts are fitted
May use an adult seat belt in the rear:
o In a taxi, if the correct child restraint is not available
o For a short and occasional trip if the correct child restraint is not available
o Where two occupied child restraints in the rear prevent the use of a third
The driver is responsible for compliance with this law for children under 14 years and the fine varies between £30 and £500 if a driver is found to not comply with this.
Drinking and Driving
Drink Driving kills. Driving alcohol slows down your reaction time and impairs judgement, making your driving unsafe and putting you, and others, at greater risk of accidents. The safest and best advice is to avoid alcohol completely if you must drive.
A conviction for driving with excess alcohol and failing to provide a specimen will automatically result in a period of disqualification of at least 12 months, an endorsement on your licence and a punishment ranging from a fined to a period of imprisonment in more serious.