150-year-old driving offense could still get you two years in prison
A 150-year-old driving offense predates motor vehicles, but can still carry you up to two years in prison.
As the Highway Traffic Act celebrates its 90th anniversary, auto experts have taken on some of the most bizarre traffic violations.
Furious and Wanton Driving is one of the most old fashioned because it is 150 years old.
It originates from 19th century legislation, but remains available to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to this day.
Described in article 35 of the 1861 law on offenses against the person, it states: “Whoever, having the charge of a cart or a vehicle, will do or cause, by driving or running gratuitously or furiously , inflicting bodily harm on any person will be guilty of an offense, and to be found guilty will be punishable, at the discretion of the court, by imprisonment for not more than two years. ”
The old law was established to deter people from driving horse-drawn carriages recklessly, but extends to non-motorized vehicles such as bicycles.
A legal offense in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it also covers motor vehicles traveling on private roads which therefore do not fall under the Road Traffic Act.
The penalties include up to two years in prison, an unlimited fine and up to nine points on your license.
But recent data, obtained by UK leasing experts Select car leasing, found that no one had been charged with the offense in the past two years.
This follows 2017 and 2018 which each had four infringement cases, also known as ‘DD90’.
The data, which was part of an access to information request to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), was correct until July 11, 2020.
James O’Malley of Select Car Leasing said: “UK driving laws do a decent job of keeping our roads safe for all users.
“They are in place to prevent a whole host of selfish acts, such as speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“But sometimes there are these more unusual laws that have been hanging around for over a century and now seem to be of much less use in modern times.”
Records show that the offense was much more common in the 19th century.
In 1889, greengrocer James Greenwood was brought before magistrates after “furiously driving a horse and a spring cart” along Chapel Street in Oakworth, West Yorkshire.
He hit a child who was crossing the road and dragged him a short distance. Greenwood was found guilty and fined 10 shillings, plus costs.