Ignorance, the law insists, is no defence.

Just as well, really – or the chances of convicting any UK citizen of anything much at all would be rapidly receding.

Ignorance is currently emerging as one of this nation’s stronger suits, with vast swathes of the populace boasting a quite spectacular knowledge deficit across an already impressive and ever expanding range of topics.

One of which, of course, is what you can and cannot legally do in your car.

For example, many modern day Brits apparently hold the mistaken believe that it is perfectly legal to knock down another citizen in your motor vehicle (or to prang their pets or property) and then drive off with out so much as a second thought.

That’s according to a unique new survey of hit and run drivers carried out for Men in Black (MIB) by Dr Matt Hopkins, Department of Criminology, University of Leicester.

Dr Hopkins reveals that it is ‘astonishing’ that fully 45% of the 695 hit and runners interviewed in the study claimed they were not aware of any obligation to stop at the scene or report the incidents in which they were involved.

The study also found significant differences between age groups as to reasons given for fleeing the scene.

Those over 34 were most likely to skedaddle because they considered that driving into some (presumably) innocent pedestrian or cyclist or whatever was not a big deal, and certainly nothing worth hanging around for (“I barely touched/just winged him”).

Meanwhile those under 34 were more likely to have scarpered because they were drunk, uninsured or both.

Citing ‘panic’ as the primary motivation for ‘doing one’ appears to be popular with all age groups, bestowing, as it elegantly does, something of the defensive justification of ‘temporary insanity’ upon the fugitive.

The law, as it turns out, is actually perfectly clear: if you drive into people, animals or property, you must stop and provide your name, address and vehicle reg to anyone who might reasonably require them. Should there be some good reason why this is not possible, you need to tell the police “as soon as reasonably practicable” (within 24 hours at the latest).

So there you have. Yes, it’s all a bit confusing. But laws are laws, and it’s really no good pretending that they’re not – or that you didn’t know that they were (see above).

At the end of the proverbial day, the easiest way to avoid getting in a muddle over your stopping-and-providing-details duties whenever you drive into things, of course, is to drive into things less often, or, better still, not to drive into things at all.




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