Weapons Of Mass Motorists

Almost half (45 per cent) of young motorists are carrying potentially lethal weapons in their vehicles in order to protect themselves and their cars from crime, according to the RAC Foundation and Max Power Magazine - revealing the results of a survey* today (23rd June).

Nearly 60 per cent of 17 to 23 year old drivers report having had their vehicle vandalised, and nearly half have had items stolen from their car. Now that threat from thieves, vandals, car jackers and joy riders appears to be leading many young motorists to be prepared to take the law, into their own hands.

The shocking survey, published in the August edition of Max Power Magazine, found evidence of an arsenal of potential weapons in the cars of respondents:

  • Almost one-third of young drivers admit to carrying a baseball bat in their vehicle.
  • Nine per cent own up to carrying a blade or sword with them when they drive.
  • Young drivers also confess to carrying crowbars, wheel-braces, screw drivers and tyre levers, all of which could be used as deadly weapons.

The RAC Foundation and Max Power are today calling on young motorists to get rid of their weapons, to protect their own safety and the safety of those around them, and also to warn them of the potential serious legal consequences of their actions.

The law is fairly ambiguous on the matter of carrying an object in a vehicle which could be used as a weapon. Whether a motorist would be prosecuted or not for carrying one of these items would depend largely on the situation.

If there was no reason for an attending officer to suspect that a motorist was intending to use or had used an object which could be a potential weapon in a crime or crime related incident, and he or she could justify the reason for the object being in the car, then there is no law against it being there.

If, however, a motorist could not justify why the object was there,and depending on the cicumstances the attending officer finds them in, they may be arrested for carrying an offensive weapon.

There is a big difference in the law regarding carrying what could potentially be used as a weapon, and actually using it as a weapon. Almost any object used in a threatening manner to another individual, regardless of circumstances, can be construed as a weapon and the person wielding it puts themself at risk of being charged with a serious criminal offence.

The advice from MAX and the RAC Foundation to motorists is simple: don’t take the risk.

Edmund King, Executive Director of the RAC Foundation said:

"It is extremely worrying that almost half of young drivers are prepared to risk their own safety and a police conviction for carrying an offensive weapon, to protect themselves and their car from car thieves and vandals.

"Carrying a weapon can also put you at risk of it being turned back onto you and using a weapon on someone else can end up with very serious charges and consequences being imposed on you - even if the person you used it on was attempting to vandalise or steal your car.

"The protection of your car is not a good enough reason for young motorists to carry baseball bats and knives in the boot. Get rid of them now"

John Sootheran, editor-in-chief of Max Power said:

"The fact that almost half of young drivers carry weapons in their cars for protection, shows how vulnerable and unprotected people feel.

"Max Power does not recommend carrying any sort of weapon in your car. However much you love your motor, it’s not worth dying or going to prison for. Today’s high-tech security systems can easily deter or prevent car theft or car-jacking and can even be fitted at your home or work."

28 June 2005 Staff

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