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Near Miss of the Day 816: Driver surrenders licence after sideswiping cyclist at 50mph

Our regular series featuring dangerous driving, today with a most irregular outcome...

Maybe one day we'll put a piece together explaining how all 800+ Near Miss of the Day submissions were dealt with by the relevant police forces across the UK, but all too often it's no further action, a warning letter or an awareness course. Most rarely, to the point where we're even wondering if this is our first case, is when a motorist decides, for whatever reason, to surrender their driving licence to the DVLA.

That's exactly what happened after road.cc reader Garry was on the receiving end of a piece of driving in Sussex in June which was "potentially so serious that for the first time ever I reported it".

> Near Miss of the Day 815: "Again and again, drivers don't seem to get the message"

"I thought you might like to hear of what I feel is a happy outcome to a 'close pass' incident. I put that in quotes as I was actually hit," Garry told us.

"Back in June a motorist collided with me in Sussex. I was sideswiped but managed to stay on, the motorist stopped to apologise but I felt the incident was potentially so serious that for the first time ever I reported it.

"The section of road has a 50 mph speed limit and the car was travelling at around that speed so being hit by a wing mirror and feeling the sides of the car move along your arm and leg was a little unsettling."

Having reported the incident, Garry heard back from Sussex Police who told him, "The driver of the vehicle that hit you has surrendered his licence to DVLA and will no longer be driving."

"As such it is not in the public interest to prosecute him as he will not receive any points on his licence," the communication continued.

"Likewise a driving course is now not an option as he will no longer be driving. Therefore I will be issuing him a written warning which puts him at fault for the collision."

Satisfied with the outcome, Garry told us it "reflects well on both the driver and the police".

"A driver (not particularly elderly which might normally explain such an action) has acknowledged they are not able to drive to a safe standard and have removed themselves from the road. This is more than I could have hoped for as it achieves more than a few points or a course," he said.

> Near Miss of the Day turns 100 - Why do we do the feature and what have we learnt from it?

Over the years road.cc has reported on literally hundreds of close passes and near misses involving badly driven vehicles from every corner of the country – so many, in fact, that we’ve decided to turn the phenomenon into a regular feature on the site. One day hopefully we will run out of close passes and near misses to report on, but until that happy day arrives, Near Miss of the Day will keep rolling on.

If you’ve caught on camera a close encounter of the uncomfortable kind with another road user that you’d like to share with the wider cycling community please send it to us at info [at] road.cc or send us a message via the road.cc Facebook page.

If the video is on YouTube, please send us a link, if not we can add any footage you supply to our YouTube channel as an unlisted video (so it won't show up on searches).

Please also let us know whether you contacted the police and if so what their reaction was, as well as the reaction of the vehicle operator if it was a bus, lorry or van with company markings etc.

> What to do if you capture a near miss or close pass (or worse) on camera while cycling

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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35 comments

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Jenova20 | 1 year ago
1 like

How does "surrendering" your licence actually work?

Do you just have to promise the police you won't drive again, or do they cut up your licence in front of you, like an expired card in the supermarket?

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brooksby replied to Jenova20 | 1 year ago
0 likes

I'd assumed that you cut it up and then posted it back to the DVLA...

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OldRidgeback | 1 year ago
0 likes

At least this driver has had the honesty to do the right thing.

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bikes | 1 year ago
4 likes

What's to stop you surrendering your licence and then applying for a new one the next day?

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Muddy Ford | 1 year ago
13 likes

The form for voluntary surrendering your driving licence is only for a medical condition, which you must declare and then obtain a medical certificate to renew. Simply sending in your driving licence is not surrendering it, and this driver would still be deemed licenced to drive though would need to renew it. This is a scam to avoid prosecution, and the police know this and should have prosecuted regardless. He could have stated in court that he volunteered it due to a medical condition (failing eyesight) and they would have decided if points should be recorded against him which would affect his ability to renew.

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gareth@attrill.uk replied to Muddy Ford | 1 year ago
1 like

Agreed, it seems suspect. I do hope they check the driver's licence records in a few  weeks to check that they have actually surrendered it.

The cynic in me assumes were intending on offering a fixed penalty notice and the driver replied "ok but I'm going ot surrender my licence, so what happens now?", and that meant they would have to send the case to court, and that was just too much work.

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Marin92 | 1 year ago
1 like

"A driver (not particularly elderly which might normally explain such an action)"

What a load of ageist rubbish. I am a keen cyclist and car driver of 65 and in my experience older people drive slower and with a lot more consideration.

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Brauchsel replied to Marin92 | 1 year ago
12 likes

The "action" here being surrendering their licence. I've known a few elderly people who have had close shaves which have made them (or family members) realise they're no longer capable of driving safely, and so they've handed in their licences. 

Ageist rubbish would be suggesting that over-65s don't read things properly and are quick to take unnecessary offence. 

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chrisonabike replied to Marin92 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Great!  But note also that the current system requires you to renew your licence every 3 years when over 70.  Are they just harassing older people?  It's also left to people - by their own observations, which might not be so acute, and against their own interests in some ways - to report this.  There is no standard "test" we apply currently.

This is not incompatible with the observation that young people - who should be perfectly healthy - have many accidents.  Different cause there.

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Seventyone replied to Marin92 | 1 year ago
3 likes

Empirical evidence suggests otherwise. This is is why insurance premiums rise for older people. Is this ageist? Possibly.

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Hirsute replied to Seventyone | 1 year ago
6 likes

Insurance is about risk. Are higher premiums for 18-25 ageist?
Premiums decline to about 60 then go back up as people become less competent.

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Seventyone replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
1 like

This is exactly the point I am trying to make to our name changing friend. I absolutely don't think it is ageist and I don't think the earlier comment was either, regardless of how excellent a driver Martin is/believes himself to be. On average older drivers are worse.

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Oldfatgit replied to Marin92 | 1 year ago
6 likes

The driver that put me in hospital for 2 weeks, and left me with life changing injuries was 80.
He drove in to me.

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Rendel Harris replied to Marin92 | 1 year ago
3 likes

Marin92 wrote:

"A driver (not particularly elderly which might normally explain such an action)"

What a load of ageist rubbish. I am a keen cyclist and car driver of 65 and in my experience older people drive slower and with a lot more consideration.

65 is not elderly (I say that as a 53-y-o who regards himself as being in early middle age!) and the cyclist isn't referring to their action but their decision to surrender their licence as being something one might expect more from an elderly person.

There's plenty of ageism around driving - I've heard people remarking unfavourably on the fact that a 90-y-o friend of mine is still driving when he is actually considerably safer than most people I know who are half his age - but this isn't an example of it.

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VIPcyclist replied to Marin92 | 1 year ago
1 like

Some old people, just like some people driver slower and with consideration. Sadly not all though.

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giff77 replied to Marin92 | 1 year ago
2 likes

Rot. A lot of the incidents that I experience are with drivers in their late 60's. A recent one being NMOD 785. I've found that they may drive slower but their reaction times are shoddy and their peripheral vision and spacial awareness are questionable. I've found that many of them have a tendency to be pretty much self entitled. You may be one of the few exceptions but you also have the edge by being a cyclist which will influence your driving. 

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swldxer | 1 year ago
3 likes

DOOR mirror - it's not 1973.

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Hywel replied to swldxer | 1 year ago
13 likes

No one cares.  Wing mirror.

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Spangly Shiny replied to swldxer | 1 year ago
9 likes

Wing mirror because it sticks out the side, like the wing (or mainplane if you really want to get pedantic) of an aircraft . In the US it is also called a wing mirror and has never been called a fender mirror, as your comment implies would have been the case in the 70's.
Grow up and move on, your constant to "Door mirrors," are becoming somewhat tedious.
 

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mattw replied to swldxer | 1 year ago
2 likes

Perhaps it was a Mark 3 Cortina and it *was* a wing mirror. smiley

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Griff500 replied to swldxer | 1 year ago
5 likes

swldxer wrote:

DOOR mirror - it's not 1973.

"Wing Mirror" dictionary definitions:

Merriam Webster:  a mirror on the outside of a vehicle that allows the driver to see what is behind and to the right or left of the vehicle

Cambridge:  a mirror on the outside of a car door that allows the driver to see the vehicles that are behind or trying to pass  

Collins:  The wing mirrors on a car are the mirrors on each side of the car on the outside.

Macmillan: a small mirror on each side of a vehicle. The American word is sideview mirror.

Wiki: A side-view mirror (or side mirror), also known as a wing mirror, is a mirror placed on the exterior of motor vehicles for the purposes of helping the driver see areas behind and to the sides of the vehicle, outside the driver's peripheral vision (in the "blind spot").

If you still aren't convinced, try googling "replacement door mirror" and you will find that the majority of UK outlets and manufacturers that pop up are selling things called "wing mirrors" not "door mirrors".   I do note however that many household furniture outlets sell "door mirrors", but they would be prettty difficult to fit on your car, so much safer to buy a new wing mirror, which everybody will understand.

 

 

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mike the bike replied to Griff500 | 1 year ago
5 likes

 

[/quote] .......   I do note however that many household furniture outlets sell "door mirrors", but they would be prettty difficult to fit on your car, so much safer to buy a new wing mirror, which everybody will understand.  [/quote]

You have no idea how determined I can be.  And I have a rotary drill, powered, I think,  by electricity.  And a supply of rawlplugs! 

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Griff500 | 1 year ago
15 likes

I'm sure this will not happen in this instance, however an acquaintance of mine who caused an accident a few few years ago was given a choice by police at the scene. He opted to surrender his licence at the scene, rather than face a dangerous driving charge. Some time later he applied, and succeeded, in getting his licence back. This is a very simple procedure where charges have not been brought.

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Bungle_52 replied to Griff500 | 1 year ago
0 likes

I suppose the key thing here is how much later is "some time later". CUK believe the key thing for the safety of cyclists is not punishment but getting drivers who put cyclists in danger off the road. In other wordr driving bans are more effective than jail. If the time between surrendering a licence and getting it back is equivalent to the length of the driving ban the motorist would have got then this is a cost efficient way of getting the dangerous motorist off the road. With the courts seemingly log jammed at the moment it could be a pragmatic solution. It all hinges, however, on how long it takes before the offender gets the licence back.

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AidanR | 1 year ago
7 likes

I would hazard a guess that the driver didn't see Garry and was so shaken by the realisation that he'd nearly killed someone that he felt he could no longer drive. It's very fortunate that he didn't kill him, but kudos for giving up his license. Most wouldn't.

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Wingguy replied to AidanR | 1 year ago
12 likes

The cynic in me assumes this is just a very clever dodge. Because they surrendered their licence they're not getting prosecuted, because they're not getting prosecuted they're not getting any blemishes on their driving record, because they voluntarily surrendered a clean licence they can get it back whenever they want. I doubt their insurance would even change.

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morgoth985 replied to Wingguy | 1 year ago
0 likes

Maybe, but I think we should give him kudos all the same.

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Hirsute replied to Wingguy | 1 year ago
7 likes

Given you can get points on a licence before you are eligible, I don't see why they didn't for this.
What is to stop the driver from changing their mind in a few years ?

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Rendel Harris replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
6 likes

hirsute wrote:

Given you can get points on a licence before you are eligible, I don't see why they didn't for this. What is to stop the driver from changing their mind in a few years ?

My thoughts exactly. As far as I can ascertain there is no minimum time before which one cannot reapply for a voluntarily surrendered licence. Not saying it is in this instance - no way of knowing - but it could be a clever strategy for someone for whom it would be preferable to give up their licence for a few months than face a conviction. 

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VIPcyclist replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
0 likes

Maybe it boils down to a lack of funds and the decision was taken on the basis that, if the licence has been surrendered, money didn't need spending and could be spent on a pub lunch instead.

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