Motorists have been warned they could face a £5,000 fine for splashing pedestrians by driving through puddles.
The issue was thrown into the spotlight this week after reports that a careless driver ploughed through a 20ft puddle, soaking a mum with a pram and another child.
The incident led police to issue an appeal to find the driver and warned that they could face a fine of up to £5,000.
The incident happened in St Ives in Cornwall but the fine could apply to anyone in England and Wales, based on a national law. The Road Traffic Act 1998 states that it is illegal to drive 'without reasonable consideration for other persons', which includes 'driving through a puddle causing pedestrians to be splashed'.
The offence can lead to a maximum fine of £5,000. A police spokesperson said: “On Thursday, January 4 around noon, a mother was with her two children, one in a pram and the other walking alongside her near the junction of Pig Lane and Greengarth in St Ives. “Due to the poor weather a very large puddle had built up due to a blocked drain near the junction, which was halfway across the road.
“It was not raining and the puddle, some 20 feet in length, could easily be seen by motorists. Unbelievably a motorist drove through the puddle causing the water to soak the three. “The driver could well have waited to drive around the puddle or drive through it very slowly so as to not cause water to splash anyone on the footpath.
“The Road Traffic Act 1998 states that it is illegal to drive ‘without reasonable consideration for other persons’, including ‘driving through a puddle causing pedestrians to be splashed. “The traffic offence can lead to a maximum fine of £5000 if it is established that the driver’s behaviour ‘amounts to a clear act of incompetence, selfishness, impatience, or aggressiveness.”
Confused.com motoring editor, Amanda Stretton said: “Some people might think that driving through puddles is a bit of fun, with others accusing the police in this instance of overreacting. "However, it can be a serious safety issue for drivers and is highly inconsiderate for pedestrians.
“Firstly, drivers have no way of knowing what the road surface is under the puddle, causing unpredictable driving conditions. Secondly, the water itself can cause the car to aquaplane – where the vehicle’s tyres fail to grip the road and cause the driver to lose control. “If that isn’t enough, it’s also just incredibly rude and drivers can be penalised, quite rightly, with a huge £5000 fine.
"Puddle rage really can lead to big fines. To avoid this cost and to ensure their safety, we advise motorists to look out for big puddles when driving, and pay particular attention when there are pedestrians around.”