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Tracker Device Used To Determine Manner Of Previous Driving

November 01 2014

Tracking devices fitted to vehicles are becoming increasingly common.  In a case heard earlier this month in Edinburgh’s High Court, the data they contain had a significant bearing on the case in an unusual development.

In summary, the defendant was charged with 2 counts of causing death by dangerous driving.   In the early evening of 27th November 2012, he had collided with 2 women on a traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing, causing fatal injuries.  It was accepted by all parties that:

  • The traffic lights were showing green to the driver and red for the pedestrians.
  • The defendant’s vehicle was appropriately lit.
  • The defendant’s vehicle was travelling at a minimum speed of 52mph on a road subject to a speed limit of 40mph.
  • The pedestrians, depending upon whether they were walking or running, would have been in the road for 0.5-1.5 seconds.

Ultimately the Crown accepted a plea to a lesser charge of causing death by careless driving. 

The interesting twist in the tale, however, was the Crown introduced new charges of dangerous driving on other occasions.  These arose from analysis of the tracker device fitted to the defendant’s vehicle by a hire company who owned the vehicle.  The defendant had been driving the hired vehicle for around a month prior to the accident with the pedestrians.

Initially, data from the tracker device had been analysed to determine his speed at the time of the accident.  It also demonstrated, however, that he had driven dangerously on several occasions within the preceding month.  For example, he had driven at more than treble the speed limit in a residential area.  In this case, the new charges were put to the defendant, who pleaded guilty.

Has this case set a precedent in the use of data from tracker devices being used for historic incidents?  Could such data also be used by the defence to provide evidence for a driver’s usual careful driving manner?

At Keith Borer Consultants, we have the ability to download and analyse data from tracking devices.  If you think this could be important to your case, or you would like to discuss the possibilities, please contact the team on 0191 332 4999 or by email: kbc@keithborer.co.uk.

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