FAQ's

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. There’s someone who keeps driving dangerously in my street – can I report them to the police in confidence?


Yes, we would like you to tell us if you’re concerned about the way someone is driving. If there is no imminent danger to anyone (including the driver) you can call the police on 101, or contact crime stoppers on 0800 555 111. If you feel that someone is in danger now, please call 999. Please tell us as much information as you can about the vehicle and driver. When you contact us, we will ask you if the information you are giving is confidential. If you’re happy to be recontacted by an officer, we can discuss a range of options with you.

Operation Dragoon is a roads policing operation specifically aimed at dangerous drivers. Click here for more information:

http://www.northumbria.police.uk/advice_and_information/road_safety/dangerous_driving/index.asp

2. How far should I be able to read a registration number from?

You must be able to read (with glasses or contact lenses if necessary) a car registration number from a distance of 20 metres.

You can be prosecuted if you can’t read a normal sized registration plate from this distance, and may be putting yourself and others at risk when driving.  You should advise the DVLA of any problems you have with both eyes, or your remaining eye if you only have one.

You can find more information here:

https://www.gov.uk/driving-eyesight-rules

or visit your local optician. You should have your eyes tested regularly.

3. Why does it take so long to open a road after a collision?

We do not take a decision to close a road lightly, as we understand the inconvenience it causes to your journey and the impact on the local economy.

If we decide to close a road, this will unfortunately mean that there has been a serious or fatal collision. In these cases, we have a duty to investigate the collision and must keep both the ‘scene’ and our officers safe until the investigation work is complete. Whilst our investigation must be thorough, we will only keep a road closed for the minimum amount of time.

There will be officers on hand to give you information if you come upon a road closure, and suitable diversions will be in place. You can keep up to date with incidents involving road closures on our website, or by tuning into your local radio station.

4. How much can I have to drink before I’m over the limit?

Our answer to this is simple. Have nothing alcoholic to drink.

Although the legal limit is 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath, it is impossible to say how much you can drink as there are many influential factors.

Any amount of alcohol you consume will affect your ability to drive. If you drink and drive, you place yourself and others in a significant amount of danger. Sadly, we see the effects of such actions all too often. The impact is often life changing.

For more information you can visit:

http://think.direct.gov.uk/drink-driving.html

5. What is the law relating to tyres?

All tyres (regardless of the vehicle) must be:
Suitable for the purpose of their use
Inflated according to the manual instructions
Have no ply or cord exposed, or lumps, bulges or tears in their structure
Have the base of any groove (which showed the original tread pattern) clearly visible

The MINIMUM tread depth required depends on the type of vehicle you’re using:
For a car, the minimum tread depth is 1.6mm – this must be a continuous band around the centre three quarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre.

For motor cycles, and vehicles with a maximum gross weight in excess of 3500kg, the tread depth must be a miminum of 1mm.

If you’re in doubt about the roadworthy state of your tyres you should have them checked at a local reputable garage. Exceptions do apply to the above rules. Check here for further information:

 https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-maintenance-safety-security

6. Can I have tinted windows on my vehicle?

 
For vehicles first used after 1st April 1985, the front windscreen must let at least 75% of the light through. The front side windows must let 70% of the light through. It is illegal to fit windows to a vehicle with tints in excess of this.
Tinted windows affect your visibility and therefore your safety when driving, particularly in poor weather conditions and at night. You can find more information here:
https://www.gov.uk/tinted-vehicle-window-rules

7. Is it illegal to have a large exhaust on my car?

Most large or ‘big bore’ exhausts are illegal for use on public roads. Even if your car has passed an MOT test with a large bore exhaust fitted,  the checks only relate to the emission of gasses.

Big bore and sports exhaust systems are usually fitted to increase the sound emitted from them. This contravenes the Type Approval of the vehicle, which is illegal.

If you are thinking of, or have made, any modifications to your vehicle you should check if they are acceptable under the Road Traffic Act. Any modifications you make should always be disclosed to your insurance company, as failing to disclose this information may mean you are not insured.

Although it may not be obvious, by modifying your car without the appropriate advice or expertise, your vehicle may become unsafe for use on the road and place you and others in danger.

8. Can I drive in the UK with a driving licence from an EU country?

 
If you have moved here from an EU country, you can drive on your original driving licence for a car or motorcycle for 3 years after becoming a resident.
If you’re studying here and are from an EU country, you can drive in the UK for as long as your original driving licence is valid.
The law changes if you’re from a non EU country, or if you’re just vising here. You should check here for more information: link to
https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence

9. What is the law relating to child car seats?

If you are carrying a child under 12 years old, or under 135cm in height (whichever comes first), in the front or rear seat of any vehicle they must use the correct child car seat.
When deciding the type of child seat you should use, the weight of the child is the deciding factor:

Rear-facing baby seats - Babies up to 13kg
Forward or rear-facing baby seats - Children from 9 to 18kg
Forward-facing child car seats (booster seats) - Children from 15 to 25kg
Booster cushions - Children over 22kg

It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure any child under the age of 14 (whether it is your own child or not) is restrained properly in a vehicle.

Click here for further information:

https://www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules