What is Vehicle Nuisance and Anti-Social Driving?
Understanding Laws Against Careless
Part of being a responsible motorist (and citizen) is being kind and considerate with your car; after all, they’re big bits of kit, and they can be pretty noisy too. Those that aren’t so thoughtful towards their neighbours and fellow motorists engage in what’s known as vehicle nuisance and anti-social driving. Some of this behaviour can involve actions that cause disturbance and irritation to those around them, such as neighbours or bystanders, but others can prove intimidating, or even dangerous. Regardless of what category the behaviour fits into, it’s all something that’s deemed serious in the eyes of local authorities.
Here, we’re going to be exploring what anti-social driving is, what is deemed a nuisance caused by drivers with their cars, and what the law says about it all. We’ll also be explaining how to report bad behaviour when it happens - read on to find out more...
What counts as anti-social driving?
Anti-social driving is defined as any type of behaviour engaged in by a driver that causes distress or alarm to those around them. It can be aggressive, or even dangerous.
What types of vehicle nuisance are there?
These are the types of nuisance that can be caused by vehicles, including cars, motorbikes and vans:
An activity that causes disruption and leaves road users and pedestrians alike vulnerable is road racing. Weaving through traffic and running red lights at high speeds is not only highly illegal but is vehicle nuisance of the grandest kind.
Tricks and stunts
If you’ve not received prior permission from the local authority to perform stunts as part of an organised event, then you should absolutely not be doing doughnuts in your local car park; it’s dangerous, and it’s pretty annoying for those living nearby. This is what’s meant by tricks and stunts, so failing to use your car sensibly could land you in trouble.
When groups of car owners or motorbike riders come together and travel at speed, it’s known as street cruising, and road signs and signals can often be ignored by those taking part. These illegal events can put other road users at risk through reckless behaviour, and due to the crowds they can attract standing at unsafe points along the road and making noise.
Using unlicensed powered vehicles
Powered vehicles such as minibikes, hoverboards, motorised scooters and ‘GoPeds’ are not allowed on public roads or pavements, and the use of any such vehicle is classed as vehicle nuisance. The only exception to this is if you’re on private property and have the permission of the landowner. Otherwise, you may find yourself in hot water.
What does the law say about vehicle noise?
We’re all familiar with the noise that a car can cause, either from excessive revving, aftermarket exhausts, or from the speakers within the car. This can become a real problem, particularly if a repeat offender is disturbing your peace and quiet at home.
Legally, cars produced since 2016 must have exhausts that are no louder than 72 decibels, and must be ‘type approved’ before they’re sold to make sure that they’re within this limit. Exhausts that exceed 74 decibels are classed as illegal, and for reference, this is just a touch louder than your average vacuum cleaner.
If you’re found to be causing a nuisance through excessive exhaust noise, you’re risking an on-the-spot fine of £50.
How can you report anti-social driving or vehicle nuisance?
A friendly, non-confrontational conversation to explain how you feel should be your first port of call if you feel comfortable enough to approach someone close to you that’s being an irresponsible motorist, particularly if they’re causing disturbance to you at home.
However, you may not feel able to do this, or the behaviour may continue after you’ve spoken. In this case, you should report the issue to the police either online or via the 101 non-emergency line, or to your local authority.