Pedestrians complain 26 times to police about being splashed by motorists driving through puddles

A motorist splashes through a puddle on Mundford Road in Thetford. Thankfully, they did not splash a

A motorist splashes through a puddle on Mundford Road in Thetford. Thankfully, they did not splash a pedestrian. Photograph Simon Parker. - Credit: Archant

Dozens of sopping-wet pedestrians have complained to Suffolk Police after being splashed when motorists drove through puddles, figures show.

Splashing falls under Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, and can be punished through a fixed penalty notice.

Details of those investigated for splashing in the past five years were released by Suffolk Constabulary under the Freedom of Information Act, although its counterpart in Norfolk said it was unable to provide the data.

Some complainants said they were deliberately targeted, including a case in Lowestoft's High Street in August 2010 and another in the town's Avondale Road in October 2011.

Among the 26 splashing incidents reported were cases at Brandon's High Street and London Road, Kingsway and King Street in Mildenhall, Denmark Road in Lowestoft, where several people were splashed while waiting at a bus stop, Tower Mill Road in Bungay, and at Beccles Hospital.

In one case in Brandon Fields in Brandon in July 2011, officers in a police car reported they accidentally splashed a cyclist while en-route to an event, while in the most recent case in November 2013, a driver in Woodbridge also contacted police to confess they had splashed a pedestrian.

Several motorists were tracked down and given 'strong words of advice' or information on 'driver etiquette', while a handful of others could not be traced and in some instances complainants decided not to pursue the cases.

Most Read

Elsewhere in the country, South Wales Police said there were 38 cases of splashing reported, and in one case a van driver was handed a ticket for a public order offence after driving 'back and forth through a large puddle to intentionally splash pedestrians'.

Another was spoken to by officers after deliberately driving through a puddle to splash a walker before laughing with a passenger.

One unlucky resident of the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, said they were soaked 'at least five times' by drivers speeding through puddles in Rissington Road.

And one concerned eyewitness reported how a 'young male driver was swerving all along' The Knapp in Stroud, 'driving into puddles on purpose to splash school children walking home'.

Mike Frisby, the Driving Instructors Association chief examiner, said: 'Motorists have a duty of care not to splash pedestrians. Normally the maximum penalty would be to get somebody's clothes dry cleaned - it's not imprisonable - but splashing can be easily avoided.

'It's probably not widely known by pedestrians that they can report incidents if they're splashed, but we don't really want to engage in a culture where people are going to report every little incident.

'The driver has an obligation to plan well, as there is always a danger when driving through a puddle because even in shallow water drivers won't know what lurks beneath.'

A spokesman for campaigners Pedestrian Liberation said: 'We frequently hear stories from pedestrians who have been splashed, from pedestrians who have to take avoiding action so as not be splashed, and also of councils that show precious little interest in sorting out the dips in the road and blocked drains that are the source of the puddles in the first place.'

In 2009, a YouTube video went viral after it appeared to show a motorist drenching children at a bus stop in Plymouth, Devon, while being egged on by her passenger.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter