A hefty fine and penalty points can be issued for ‘careless driving’


For motorists, it’s important that the vehicle they use is maintained regularly to ensure that it’s safe to be on the road and not a danger to others.

This usually entails making sure the vehicle is mechanically sound and that all four tyres are legally safe to use.

However, one aspect of vehicle maintenance that’s often overlooked by many is a clean vehicle.

There are no actual laws that require motorists to have a clean vehicle at all times but there are however a few elements that should be kept clean to avoid punishments.

A hefty fine and penalty points can be issued for 'careless driving'

Warning to motorists: You could be punished for driving around with a dirty windscreen. © Copyright Paul Bryan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


Firstly, the number plate on the back and front of your car by law must be clear to read at all times – if caught with a dirty reg plate you could be issued with a hefty fine of £1,000.

Also, driving around with a dirty windscreen, side mirrors or rear windscreen could land you in trouble if caught.

Having a dirty windscreen on your car could impair your vision and alter your reaction times which could lead to an accident.

According to Regulation 30 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, drivers must keep all glass surfaces free from dirt and clear at all times.

The law states that “all glass or other transparent material fitted to a motor vehicle shall be maintained in such condition that it does not obscure the vision of the driver while the vehicle is being driven on a road.”

You could be fined and charged for ‘careless driving’ if you were involved in an accident because of having a filthy windscreen.

An on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points could be issued for carless driving which could rise to a hefty £5,000 and nine penalty points if the case ends up in court.

In serious cases an offender could even have their driving licence revoked.

“Careless driving is all about penalising the negative impact you have on other drivers,” said Neil Greig, Policy and Research Director at IAM RoadSmart, adding: “If a dirty windscreen is stopping you from driving safely then you should expect to be caught and charged. Not having clear vision in low sun situations is a really serious issue.”

According to Mr Greig, it was recorded by the police that the ‘dazzling sun’ played its role in 28 fatal crashes, 463 serious injury crashes and more than 2,100 minor injury accidents in 2016.

Motorists are advised to keep their vehicle’s windscreen and rear windscreen clean and clear at all times both inside and out, as well as keeping their side mirrors clean.


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