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Lorry driver convicted of close pass baffled by verdict (+ video)

“I thought it was clear as day to me. I had left more than enough gap”

A lorry driver who pleaded not guilty after being caught by West Midlands Police’s close pass initiative has expressed confusion that he was subsequently found guilty. Dean Littleford claims that the video footage used to convict him proves his innocence.

Littleford was convicted of driving without due care and attention after being caught on camera squeezing past a cyclist on Tipton’s Park Lane West last November, becoming the first court conviction for West Midlands Police’s lauded close-pass initiative.

He was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £1,038 and given five points on his licence, but still doesn’t seem to accept that he was at fault.

Speaking to who else but The Daily Mail, he said that when he first found the video online, “I thought it was as clear as day to me. I had left more than enough gap.”

After receiving a court summons, Littleford had initially been willing to pay the £100 fine and accept the three points on his licence as he 'couldn't remember the incident well enough' – but after seeing the video, he changed his mind.

“He came up the side of me. He accelerated in my opinion. I thought it was a clear cut case and I wasn't going to accept the fine.”

Speaking about his appearance in court, he said: “How many people just accept the three points and a £100 fine? I imagine a lot of people do. Maybe I should have, but I just thought I was innocent.

“I thought I didn't need a solicitor. I explained to the magistrates what happened and they looked at the video. The case was only ten or 15 minutes long and then they said I was guilty. Well it was amazing, astonishing. I don't think they were really that interested.”

PC Mark Hodson from West Midlands Police’s Central Motorway Police Group commented:

“Most offenders watch the footage, accept their driving was below par, and elect for a driver improvement course or an offer of three licence points and £100.

“This was a clear case of a close pass. The cyclist was nearly forced into the kerb and the actions of the truck driver could easily have caused a very serious collision. He maintained his innocence, though, and has now been convicted in court.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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54 comments

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jh27 | 6 years ago
0 likes

So the driver thought his driving was good?
I wonder what FSW Limited Overnight Pallet Service and do they still employ someone who thinks this is acceptable driving?

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Wemo1978 | 6 years ago
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OK so it's rush hour and there's a bike in front of you with not enough room to pass at a safe (legal) distance? You hold up the rest of the traffic behind and wait for the cyclist to either turn or let you past? And what happens if they don't? Why are there no cycle lanes to stop this happening? Or is this what they are trying to raise money for by fining this man so much money!

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don simon fbpe replied to Wemo1978 | 6 years ago
2 likes
Wemo1978 wrote:

OK so it's rush hour and there's a bike in front of you with not enough room to pass at a safe (legal) distance? You hold up the rest of the traffic behind and wait for the cyclist to either turn or let you past? And what happens if they don't? Why are there no cycle lanes to stop this happening? Or is this what they are trying to raise money for by fining this man so much money!

farty's got another log-in.

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hawkinspeter replied to Wemo1978 | 6 years ago
0 likes

dupe post

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hawkinspeter replied to Wemo1978 | 6 years ago
3 likes
Wemo1978 wrote:

OK so it's rush hour and there's a bike in front of you with not enough room to pass at a safe (legal) distance? You hold up the rest of the traffic behind and wait for the cyclist to either turn or let you past? And what happens if they don't? Why are there no cycle lanes to stop this happening? Or is this what they are trying to raise money for by fining this man so much money!

How do you fit so much stupid in one post?

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ConcordeCX replied to Wemo1978 | 6 years ago
3 likes
Wemo1978 wrote:

OK so it's rush hour and there's a bike in front of you with not enough room to pass at a safe (legal) distance? You hold up the rest of the traffic behind and wait for the cyclist to either turn or let you past? And what happens if they don't? Why are there no cycle lanes to stop this happening? Or is this what they are trying to raise money for by fining this man so much money!

Ok.

Yes.

You continue to wait.

Because the roads are for bicycles too. And horses. And people.

No, they fined him for being a twat, which is illegal in all jurisdictions.

OK, so it's rush hour and you know there's a lot of people trying to get to work, because that's what rush hour is. They'll be on bikes, and in cars, taxis and buses, and on scooters and walking, crossing the road and shit like that. So why would you add to the problem by trying to drive a lorry through it when you know that an hour ago, and in an hour's time, the streets are a bit quieter? 

What makes you believe that one group of people has priority over another when they're all going about their lawful business?

 

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Wemo1978 replied to ConcordeCX | 6 years ago
0 likes

Ok.

Yes.

You continue to wait.

Because the roads are for bicycles too. And horses. And people.

No, they fined him for being a twat, which is illegal in all jurisdictions.

OK, so it's rush hour and you know there's a lot of people trying to get to work, because that's what rush hour is. They'll be on bikes, and in cars, taxis and buses, and on scooters and walking, crossing the road and shit like that. So why would you add to the problem by trying to drive a lorry through it when you know that an hour ago, and in an hour's time, the streets are a bit quieter? 

What makes you believe that one group of people has priority over another when they're all going about their lawful business?

 

[/quote]

If being a twat was illegal, sounds like you would be locked up!

No need to be funny and yes lots of people on the road but bus drivers for example still have to work in peak times and same would be said for them, they can't sit behind a cyclist all day especially when they don't have unlimited amount of time they can drive for.

Wasn't looking for an argument and don't get defensive but surely if there were cycle lanes in more parts of the UK this kind of thing would be avoided...

Or maybe if this cyclist didn't sit in the gutter waiting for someone to pass too close so he could get some kind of enjoyment out of filming them, we could all get along nicely!

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oldstrath replied to Wemo1978 | 6 years ago
0 likes
Wemo1978 wrote:

Ok.

Yes.

You continue to wait.

Because the roads are for bicycles too. And horses. And people.

No, they fined him for being a twat, which is illegal in all jurisdictions.

OK, so it's rush hour and you know there's a lot of people trying to get to work, because that's what rush hour is. They'll be on bikes, and in cars, taxis and buses, and on scooters and walking, crossing the road and shit like that. So why would you add to the problem by trying to drive a lorry through it when you know that an hour ago, and in an hour's time, the streets are a bit quieter? 

What makes you believe that one group of people has priority over another when they're all going about their lawful business?

 

If being a twat was illegal, sounds like you would be locked up!

No need to be funny and yes lots of people on the road but bus drivers for example still have to work in peak times and same would be said for them, they can't sit behind a cyclist all day especially when they don't have unlimited amount of time they can drive for.

Wasn't looking for an argument and don't get defensive but surely if there were cycle lanes in more parts of the UK this kind of thing would be avoided...

Or maybe if this cyclist didn't sit in the gutter waiting for someone to pass too close so he could get some kind of enjoyment out of filming them, we could all get along nicely![/quote]
If you're really unlucky might get to wait two minutes behind a bike. Unless you are a first responder it will make exactly no difference to your life.

More adequately wide, well surfaced, separated cycle lanes might be a good thing. In this country they are also a fantasy

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kitsunegari | 6 years ago
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I think I'd be pretty grateful on my daily commute if I was given that much room by a passing vehicle.

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griggers | 6 years ago
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Gotta be a few cycle trainers out there wondering why the cyclist was riding in the gutter thereby inviting the traffic to overtake rather than blocking it until there was room for them?

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Pub bike replied to griggers | 6 years ago
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griggers wrote:

Gotta be a few cycle trainers out there wondering why the cyclist was riding in the gutter thereby inviting the traffic to overtake rather than blocking it until there was room for them?

Taking primary.  Damned if do deaddamned if you don't.

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jh27 replied to griggers | 6 years ago
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griggers wrote:

Gotta be a few cycle trainers out there wondering why the cyclist was riding in the gutter thereby inviting the traffic to overtake rather than blocking it until there was room for them?

The blue car managed a reasonable overtake. If I'd been the driver of the blue car I wouldn't have passed and if I'd been the cyclist, I wouldn't have hugged the kerb.

I'm conflicted, how could someone who cycles enough to warrant the investment in two cameras have such poor positioning. On the other hand, it is not surprising that someone who positions his cycle so poorly, suffers so many close passes and feels the need for cameras.

I'm not defending the truck driver, but that wasn't even secondary position, and in conditions like that, primary wouldn't have been unreasonable. It is clearly a busy time of day, the only advantage the truck and the car drivers could hope to achieve is an earlier arrival at the next queue of traffic.

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twinklydave | 6 years ago
3 likes

No need for a fine. No need for driver improvement courses. Every conviction, or admission of guilt, should result in 20 hours riding for anyone physically able (yep, they guilty party even gets the health benefits of excersize!). To be done around the area the incident occured at a similar time. (The money that would have been taken as a fine can be used to purchase a bike).

 

 

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CXR94Di2 | 6 years ago
1 like

This reminds me the other day me and my lad were cycling on an A road, we came upon 2 horse riders, we positioned ourselves in the middle of the road to pass the horses. I was looking back and could see cars approaching from behind, but I thought by our position and my constant looking back it would be clear what we were doing. As we passed the horses a car driver overtook us and the horses whilst a car was coming the other way. Bizarrely they slowed at the point of passing. Why didn't they just wait 10 seconds for us to pass then they could of done more safely?!?

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CXR94Di2 | 6 years ago
2 likes

He should not of attempted to overtake unless he could get over to the other carriage way. That was blocked by traffic. He then should of held back and waited for a clear road to overtake. We need to see loads of these prosecution s taking place to warn others to be more considerate and careful.

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brooksby replied to CXR94Di2 | 6 years ago
5 likes
CXR94Di2 wrote:

He should not of attempted to overtake unless he could get over to the other carriage way. That was blocked by traffic. He then should of held back and waited for a clear road to overtake. We need to see loads of these prosecution s taking place to warn others to be more considerate and careful.

Should  have

Grrr

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CXR94Di2 replied to brooksby | 6 years ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

Grrr

Tosser.  1

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ChrisB200SX | 6 years ago
2 likes

Worrying that he hasn't accepted that what he did was wrong and is still able to drive, professionally  2

Wish I could stick a camera in my office window and get all the drivers on their phones convicted.

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KevM | 6 years ago
2 likes

Road.cc have you uploaded the correct video for the story? Driver claims the cyclist came up the inside of him and that was his defense. Clearly the wrong video has been uploaded...

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BarryBianchi replied to KevM | 6 years ago
1 like
KevM wrote:

Road.cc have you uploaded the correct video for the story? Driver claims the cyclist came up the inside of him and that was his defense. Clearly the wrong video has been uploaded...

  He probably did at some point, as one does filtering in traffic.

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billymansell | 6 years ago
7 likes

Interesting. Just heard from Northamptonsire Police that they're not going to prosecute a driver from a video I submitted because a) the driver couldn't remember the incident and b) you couldn't recognise the driver even though the vehicle and registration are clear, both of which are true of the case here.

Oh to live in a county where the police do their job properly.

I'm wondering whether to complain for deciding not to prosecute someone because they don't remember what they did is a contemptible response.

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Chris Hayes replied to billymansell | 6 years ago
7 likes
billymansell wrote:

b) you couldn't recognise the driver even though the vehicle and registration are clear, both of which are true of the case here.

Hmmm...I wonder if the driver had been speeding they would have accepted this as grounds for non-prosecution?  Actually, I don't: they would have sent him/her a nice letter saying 'we intend to prosecute you.  If you weren't the driver of the vehicle you own, now's your chance to let us know who was driving...'...I would defintely make a complaint to the CC.  If only all cases were this easy  1

 

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Roadie_john replied to Chris Hayes | 6 years ago
1 like
Chris Hayes wrote:
billymansell wrote:

b) you couldn't recognise the driver even though the vehicle and registration are clear, both of which are true of the case here.

Hmmm...I wonder if the driver had been speeding they would have accepted this as grounds for non-prosecution?  Actually, I don't: they would have sent him/her a nice letter saying 'we intend to prosecute you.  If you weren't the driver of the vehicle you own, now's your chance to let us know who was driving...'...I would defintely make a complaint to the CC.  If only all cases were this easy  1

 

as it's a commercial vehicle, there will have been records as to who was driving... 

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Roadie_john replied to Chris Hayes | 6 years ago
0 likes
Chris Hayes wrote:
billymansell wrote:

b) you couldn't recognise the driver even though the vehicle and registration are clear, both of which are true of the case here.

Hmmm...I wonder if the driver had been speeding they would have accepted this as grounds for non-prosecution?  Actually, I don't: they would have sent him/her a nice letter saying 'we intend to prosecute you.  If you weren't the driver of the vehicle you own, now's your chance to let us know who was driving...'...I would defintely make a complaint to the CC.  If only all cases were this easy  1

 

as it's a commercial vehicle, there will have been records as to who was driving... 

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zero_trooper replied to billymansell | 6 years ago
7 likes
billymansell wrote:

Interesting. Just heard from Northamptonsire Police that they're not going to prosecute a driver from a video I submitted because a) the driver couldn't remember the incident and b) you couldn't recognise the driver even though the vehicle and registration are clear, both of which are true of the case here.

Oh to live in a county where the police do their job properly.

I'm wondering whether to complain for deciding not to prosecute someone because they don't remember what they did is a contemptible response.

 

'the driver couldn't remember the incident' A ridiculous reason not to prosecute. The registered owner must (after having had the relevant paperwork served on them), inform the police who the driver was at the time. The police can then show the named driver the video evidence for their comments. 

Then a decision can be made to prosecute or not.

I would ask for the the decision to be reviewed, looks like someone was cutting corners (pardon the pun) here. Infact, I smell bullshit!

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billymansell replied to zero_trooper | 6 years ago
1 like
zero_trooper wrote:
billymansell wrote:

Interesting. Just heard from Northamptonsire Police that they're not going to prosecute a driver from a video I submitted because a) the driver couldn't remember the incident and b) you couldn't recognise the driver even though the vehicle and registration are clear, both of which are true of the case here.

Oh to live in a county where the police do their job properly.

I'm wondering whether to complain for deciding not to prosecute someone because they don't remember what they did is a contemptible response.

 

'the driver couldn't remember the incident' A ridiculous reason not to prosecute. The registered owner must (after having had the relevant paperwork served on them), inform the police who the driver was at the time. The police can then show the named driver the video evidence for their comments. 

Then a decision can be made to prosecute or not.

I would ask for the the decision to be reviewed, looks like someone was cutting corners (pardon the pun) here. Infact, I smell bullshit!

I will be contacting them about it again.

When I first submitted the video to the police in the incident room they got back in contact within the hour having already sought advice of the CPS and they both could see clear reason to prosecute, as could the interviewing officer when the statemet was taken. All the info went to another force in the county where the incident took place and they've decided that because the driver can't remember and can't be facially identified in the video there's no case to answer. Sad, as old Trumpy would say.

Whether it's down to the PCC's commissioning priorities or just the specific interests of individual officers I couldn't say but the inconsistency and apathy at times towards certain types of dangerous and criminal behaviours in the county is infuriating particularly when it comes to video evidence as we were the first county in the country to prosecute someone using only third party (dashcam) video.

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Eric D replied to billymansell | 6 years ago
1 like
billymansell wrote:

I will be contacting them about it again.

When I first submitted the video to the police in the incident room they got back in contact within the hour having already sought advice of the CPS and they both could see clear reason to prosecute, as could the interviewing officer when the statemet was taken. All the info went to another force in the county where the incident took place and they've decided that because the driver can't remember and can't be facially identified in the video there's no case to answer. Sad, as old Trumpy would say.

Whether it's down to the PCC's commissioning priorities or just the specific interests of individual officers I couldn't say but the inconsistency and apathy at times towards certain types of dangerous and criminal behaviours in the county is infuriating particularly when it comes to video evidence as we were the first county in the country to prosecute someone using only third party (dashcam) video.

They should at least prosecute the 'registered keeper' of the vehicle with 'failing to identify the driver'!
http://road.cc/content/news/177630-police-say-horrific-nottingham-hit-and-run-resulted-£150-fine

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billymansell replied to Eric D | 6 years ago
0 likes
Eric D wrote:
billymansell wrote:

I will be contacting them about it again.

When I first submitted the video to the police in the incident room they got back in contact within the hour having already sought advice of the CPS and they both could see clear reason to prosecute, as could the interviewing officer when the statemet was taken. All the info went to another force in the county where the incident took place and they've decided that because the driver can't remember and can't be facially identified in the video there's no case to answer. Sad, as old Trumpy would say.

Whether it's down to the PCC's commissioning priorities or just the specific interests of individual officers I couldn't say but the inconsistency and apathy at times towards certain types of dangerous and criminal behaviours in the county is infuriating particularly when it comes to video evidence as we were the first county in the country to prosecute someone using only third party (dashcam) video.

They should at least prosecute the 'registered keeper' of the vehicle with 'failing to identify the driver'!
http://road.cc/content/news/177630-police-say-horrific-nottingham-hit-and-run-resulted-£150-fine

Yeah, Eric. I've been in contact with CyclingUK who said the same and one of their legal people is helping to put together a complaint.

What riles most, more than the incident itself, is the police apathy in their decision. The video clearly shows the car going round a right angled corner wholly on the wrong side of the white line but they dismiss this as a slight error and they wholly ignore the lack of indication and turning into the path of oncoming traffic.

It's a sad indictment against the police that they'll act so unprofessionally in responding to dangerous and criminal behaviour but thankfully we know there are good forces like WMP who not only uphold the law but challenge other forces who fail to do so.

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Chris Hayes | 6 years ago
2 likes

Wow...better get some cameras....I could get half the drivers I come across fined on this basis and with one fell swoop reduce the deficit and clear the national debt...

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1961BikiE | 6 years ago
6 likes

It's the typical long vehicle pass. They "forget" that once they in their seat are past you that there's another 3, 5 whatever metres behind them that needs to give you the same clearance as the cab.

Baffled driver, no shock there then.

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