Passengers need to behave in the car or there will be trouble

​IT isn’t just drivers whose behaviour can lead to a criminal calamity – car passengers can cause problems too.

​According to the International Drivers Association (IDA), there are many ways in which a car passenger is a liability.

Dominic Wyatt, a senior expert from IDA, sheds light on some of the lesser-known rules:

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Unbuckled seatbelts – As per rule 100 of the Highway Code, every passenger must wear a seatbelt unless exempted. If a driver fails to ensure this, he or she can invite a fixed penalty notice of up to £500.

Put That Screen Away – routine scrolling on your mobile or tablet can be a distraction to the driver. A bright screen or video can divert a driver’s attention away from the road. The fine for this is not fixed but can potentially be as serious as careless driving.

Stop in the name of the law – In the UK even the simple act of waving someone to cross the road can be legally problematic. If a passenger signals a pedestrian to cross, they could be held accountable for a potential accident. There are no set fines but it could lead to court action.

Dominic Wyatt said: “Educate yourself and ensure everyone in your car is aware of these rules. Awareness is crucial not only to prevent fines but also for everyone’s safety on the road.”

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Rules broken by backseat drivers – although this is not a legal breach, backseat driving can test patience levels with the driver and lead to arguments. Such incidents can lead to the driver getting distracted, which might result in an accident or violation of driving laws.

Gestures – obscene gestures and verbal abuse from a passenger can result in a driving penalty for disorderly behaviour. The driver can face penalty points or a fine of up to £1,000.

Disruptive children or pets – children or pets causing a significant distraction can invite fines for the driver. They should always be appropriately restrained as per rule 57 and 100 of the Highway Code.

Dominic Wyatt said: “As a driver, remember it’s not just about how you drive but also about ensuring everyone in the car complies with the rules. Stay informed and vigilant.”

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