DRIVERS could be slapped with a hefty penalty for failing to clean their windscreen properly.
Motorists have a responsibility to ensure their driving doesn’t have a negative impact on others, and this also applies to how your car is kept.
If you head out on the road with a dirty windscreen and it has an affect on your ability to see properly, you could be charged with careless driving in the event of an accident.
Even if you’re involved in an incident that isn’t strictly your fault, if a court finds the outcome could have been lessened or prevented if you had a clearer view, you could still be penalised.
Under Regulation 30 of The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, drivers are warned they must keep all glass clear of obstruction.
The law states: “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.”
Last year, a Cambridgeshire driver was charged with death by careless driving after she crashed into and killed her disabled cousin.
Hayley Sterna didn’t see the wheelchair-bound Chris Clements on the roadside as she was dazzled by sunlight reflecting off the dirt on her windscreen.
This is despite Clements wearing a high-visibility jacket and having high-visibility markers on his wheelchair.
Meanwhile, Sterna’s windscreen washer pot had run out of water, and she had failed to fill it up before leaving.
She told police at the time: “The sun was low and my windscreen isn’t very clean at the minute”.
Sterna received a 12-month suspended sentence and was disqualified from driving for two years.
But even if you aren’t involved in a crash, you could still be charged with careless driving.
The charge carries a £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points on your licence if stopped by police.
And in more serious cases, or those that are contested in court, the charge can attract a maximum £5,000 fine, up to nine penalty points and even a court-imposed driving ban.
Driving with a dirty windscreen could also attract a similar charge as failing to properly de-ice your windscreen in the winter months.
Your car can be classified as being in a “dangerous condition” if part of your windscreen is obscured by ice, seeing you slapped with an on-the-spot fine.
Neil Greig, Policy and Research Director at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Careless driving is all about penalising the negative impact you have on other drivers.
“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.
“In 2016 ‘dazzling sun’ was recorded by the police as a factor in 28 fatal crashes, 463 serious injury crashes and just over 2,100 slight injury crashes.
“The best solution is to keep your windscreen clean, inside and out, and to carry a pair of sunglasses all year round.
“If you don’t take a clear opportunity to keep your windscreen clean you will find the courts taking an very serious view and almost certainly increasing you sentence, fine or ban.
“It takes only a few minutes to wipe the screen on the inside and keeping your washer bottle topped up should be part of any basic regular car check.”
We previously revealed how drivers could be fined for not wearing sunglasses on a bright day.