In this day and age of smart phones, it’s so easy to just whip out one’s phone and film or take a photo, after all everyone loves a good selfie! Many of these photos are uploaded onto social networking sites and the likes and comments will flood in. But could there be an instance when taking photographs is not a good thing? Perhaps even illegal?
A shocking case has come to light, one that illustrates just how using a mobile phone can get people into quite a lot of trouble with the law- even if you are using your phone while not driving! It was found that nearly 80 nosy motorists were pulled aside by the Police for using their camera’s where they shouldn’t have been. Each of them prosecuted for taking photos of a serious accident that occurred along a busy stretch of motorway.
The accident happened earlier this year in June, on a part of the M6 motorway near Birmingham. However, details of the case and the prosecutions were only learned of late last week when Warwickshire Police tweeted the news. Possibly in an attempt to warn other drivers not to do the same thing- or face similar or worse consequences!
It’s no surprise that the incident itself attracted so much attention of motorists passing by. The huge lorry fire which broke out afterwards would have naturally been hard to miss especially during a busy time of the morning at around 10am.
Warwickshire Police have spoken out about the event saying that: “Motorists travelling northbound were seen by police taking pictures of the fire. They have been sent letters saying that they had been seen taking photographs. They have been told they can either pay a £100 fine and have three penalty points put on to their licences or contest the case in court.”
The actual Tweet from Warwickshire Police read: “Following a serious RTC (road traffic collision) on the M6 in the summer, we have secured 80 prosecutions for motorists using phones to photograph the scene.”
Using a mobile phone while driving is something that will always be discouraged at Want Driving Lessons, with each of our driving pupils being taught to completely refrain from doing so when driving. However, there are tougher new rules and laws slowly coming into practice in regards to filming events in public.
This case only highlights how easy it is to get onto the wrong side of the law on our roads. The simple act of filming or photographing something in the past would have been seen as contributing to evidence. The lines between what is acceptable to film and what isn’t are not very clear at the moment. But already this is beginning to change, there seems to be a ‘trial and error’ style of making decisions. Hopefully this process will make things clearer for motorists as well as pedestrians with smart phones.
In the mean time we recommend that you don’t film an accident if you happen to see one, instead call the emergency services if they haven’t been already alerted.