A South Essex-based road traffic solicitor has said that introducing German-style ‘rubbernecking’ laws in the UK would be “pointless”.
Jeremy Sirrell, a Partner at Palmers Solicitors, which has offices in Basildon, Rayleigh, Thurrock and South Woodham Ferrers, made the comments after the German government recently opted to increase penalties for the offence.
“There are no specific laws in the UK concerning the practice of ‘rubbernecking’ but it is a problem, which might lead some to think German-style rules should be introduced here.
“Most drivers in the UK will be familiar with the experience of having been stuck in an interminable queue, only to find at the head of it an accident on the other side of the road with the delay being purely a consequence of drivers slowing to peer at the wreckage,” said Jeremy.
He said that while such behaviour is stupid, unnecessary and inconsiderate, people are naturally curious about what is going on.
“People will naturally want to look at accidents, regardless of rules or laws that are in place. Better driver tuition will help, but it is difficult to see how any law would be likely to make a difference.
“We can see from the German experience that imposing a rule or law requiring people to act in an altruistic fashion seems to have exactly the opposite effect,” he added.
Jeremy said: “While you can make anything an offence, this means nothing if you cannot effectively police it. It is necessary to be able to actually stop and prosecute people suspected of committing the offence. However, doing so will certainly cause more disruption and delay than the person committing the office had caused in the first place, thus exacerbating the situation.
“That said, although a new law would be pointless, don’t expect this fact to stop our lawmakers from legislating if they think there is a headline to be grabbed from doing so.”
For more information, please visit www.palmerslaw.co.uk