Few drivers may actually be aware of it, but it is illegal to soak pedestrians by driving through puddles. Although it is unlikely unless a person has intentionally sped up and swerved to create as big a splash as possible, it is possible to receive as many as nine points on a licence and as much as a £5,000 fine under section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Police forces shared information on the number of complaints that they have received from pedestrians soaked by drivers, after being asked for the information as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. Six forces responded, or keep separate figures for splashing, and a total of 63 complaints were registered by these forces in the five year period from January 2009.
Details of specific complaints show that one bus driver intentionally sped up to soak pedestrians, while a police officer was forced to apologise to a splashing victim. Although the figures do appear quite amusing, and the offence is not one that carries a possible prison conviction, it could lead to a disqualification from driving as well as a considerable fine and a victim surcharge. The driver may even be asked to pay for the dry cleaning bill of the victim.
According to section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, splashing pedestrians is considered to be “driving without reasonable consideration” when another person is inconvenienced by the manner of driving. However, while drivers should plan ahead in a bid to pass slowly through standing water, they should avoid swerving over the road or braking to a standstill in order to avoid a puddle.
However, according to the Road Traffic Act, drivers that are found guilty could receive between 3 and 9 penalty points, which means that anybody that already has points on their licence could face disqualification under the totting up procedure. There is also a maximum fine of £5,000, and the offender could be forced to pay a victim premium. Drivers are also reminded that any of a number of potential dangers could lurk under the surface of standing water.