NEARLY everyone will have done it – driven off with ice on their car windows.
But for Malcolm Benham, the decision cost him dearly.
He was spotted by police with only a letterbox-shaped piece of clear windscreen and charged with dangerous driving.
He denied it but was found guilty at trial, banned from driving and fined £750.
Fareham Magistrates’ Court heard that Benham, of Linkenholt Way, Havant, was driving along his road last March when Sergeant Jo Lockie spotted ice on the driver and passenger door windows. Giving evidence, Sgt Lockie said she saw the van mount the pavement while the driver’s door opened for a few seconds followed by the passenger door opening.
Sgt Lockie said she suspected the doors were being opened to allow Benham to see. She said: ‘The van was driving quite slowly, between 10 and 15mph.
‘The doors opened and closed, which I suspect was to allow the driver to see where he was going.’
Benham pulled out of his road on to Purbrook Way. But after driving all the way round a roundabout, he pulled over outside some shops.
During the trial, the court saw body-worn camera footage taken by PC Mike Cutner of Benham’s windscreen.
Sgt Lockie described it as covered in ice and said the video clearly showed how little visibility Benham had.
But giving evidence, Benham, 47, said the ice seen in the footage was from the inside of the van and he had pulled over because he was concerned about his visibility.
He also denied driving on the pavement saying there were cars parked on the dropped kerb.
Chairman of the magistrates Mr Kitely said during sentencing: ‘Your vision was so obscured that you could not have full view and this would constitute dangerous driving. Our reasons are the credibility of the police officers and the CCTV footage.’
He added that it was not the highest level of dangerous driving as Benham was not driving with excessive speed, the length of the journey was short and he was not involved in an accident.
Benham was banned from driving for 12 months and fined £750. He must pay £300 costs and a £75 victim surcharge.
Charity says motorist is risk to road users
ROAD safety charity Brake said driving with an icy windscreen is a danger to other road users.
Philip Goose, senior community engagement officer at Brake, said: ‘Driving is the most dangerous thing most of us do on a daily basis and as drivers we have the main responsibility to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
‘Any driver who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle unable to properly see other road users, either because of an icy window or because of their vision, has already fallen far below the basic level of competency that is expected. They are a danger to other road users who are at risk of death or serious injury because of their actions.’
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