With more and more cars getting high tech sound systems, hearing loud music while driving has become a daily occurrence for most people. One council is fighting back and has introduced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which gives officers the ability to fine people £100 for anti-social vehicle use.
This could include loud noise, shouting or being sexually suggestive. The measure was introduced after two-thirds of Bradford said they felt unsafe on the roads and said that nuisance drivers were a problem.
PSPO in place
A PSPO is already in place in certain areas of Bradford for antisocial behaviour and between March 2017 and June 2018, alcohol in various forms was confiscated 497 times. Bradford residents seem to be in favour of further PSPOs.
In a consultation of Bradford residents on the roads, 70% of those surveyed said they felt unsafe on the roads and 76% supported a PSPO to help reduce the anti-social behaviour in roads.
How will a PSPO help?
The PSPO is an order that protects the natural environment of an area and keeps residents safe in the area. Certain council enforcement officers are authorised to act upon a PSPO for the purpose of keeping the peace. Police officers are also able to enforce PSPOs.
In this instance, the PSPO can be used to stop anti-social driving. Whether this is wheel spinning excessively, blasting loud music, shouting from windows or being overtly sexual from a car, the PSPO can be used with correct judgement to help with the issue of anti-social driving in the area.
Mr Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I support the step that Bradford Council have approved in the use of Public Space Protection Orders, a move which I believe will help to tackle a number of anti-social behaviour and road safety related issues.”
“Road safety is clearly a significant area of interest in Bradford and for many communities across the county and remains a key focus in my Police and Crime Plan. The PSPO will complement the significant work already undertaken by West Yorkshire Police, the Council and other partners in the District such as Operation Steerside which targets wider road safety offences and behaviour.”
Draconian or desired?
Some have come against the PSPO suggestion, labelling it “a bit draconian” and questioning how personal this could become.
Local councillor in Bradford, Simon Cooke, said of the PSPO “Is there the justification of making criminal what wasn’t criminal before? What we seem to have is a bit of virtue signalling, so we are seen to be doing something about the problem. But it doesn’t really address the problem to any great extent.”
He also raised a valid point of determining what anti-social behaviour in a vehicle was bad enough to warrant a fine or order. One person’s attitude could be completely different from someone else’s on what constitutes anti-social behaviour. “When it comes to music being played too loud is there not a risk that personal music preference may decide if music being played is ‘good or bad’?” he added, showing the potentially highly personal nature of the issue at hand. How can one person decide that someone’s driving is anti-social when it may be a personal prejudice? While strict training and regulations will no doubt be given, both having evidence of the act and being able to justify the reasons for the fine could easily be swayed through personal judgement.
Will the days of people driving around blasting music slowly be going out of fashion or is it overly restricting peoples behaviour? In recent months there has been a lot of talk of driving becoming very big brother like, with cars able to limit top speed depending on the road area soon and next-generation speed cameras that can pick up multiple fineable offences.
There are not many people who would openly admit to cutting people up in traffic, blasting loud music or sitting around in a car park drinking. However, the people who use their vehicles for things that aren’t illegal but aren’t seen as proper use could soon be feeling the sharp end of a £100 fine.
One can see both sides of the argument, they aren’t doing anything technically illegal, but people don’t want to be surrounded by anti-social driving. On the other hand, the small minority that does use their vehicles for anti-social purposes are more at risk of breaking the law, such as speeding or distracted driving.
People in Bradford have said bad driving is an issue, but in many large towns and cities across the country, this will no doubt be a very prevalent issue as well. You only need to watch Police Interceptors on Channel 4 to see the amount of dangerous driving that takes place come nightfall. Protecting our roads from dangerous drivers is essential but is this taking it one step too far or is this the next best thing to happen to residential areas?
What do you think of the PSPO? Would you like to see one in your local area? Let us know below