A mix of stories coming out today just shows what a mess the UK law is in at a fundamental level.
The first concerns snow and ice. Last Thursday, heeding the advice given by the authorities concerned via the media, I decided to leave my car in the drive and headed the half mile to the town centre on foot.The local roads and pavements were, as expected, a little treacherous but manageable. But once on the main road things changed. The roads were clear and cars could drive quite safely along them at near normal speeds, but the pavements, now well trodden by many pedestrians also heeding the advice not to drive, was packed ice and extremely dangerous. I fell once and almost went down several more times. I was not the only one. The NHS is full of fracture cases at the moment. What about the elderly who can’t drive and are forced to take a short walk to the shops? What are we doing for them?
The advice should actually have been ‘take the safe option – don’t walk, drive’.
I talked to a local shop-owner who had done his best to clear the area in front of his shop. He was astounded when I told him that he could now be sued if someone fell over and could prove he hadn’t cleared it ‘properly’.
Now some claim that this law prevents people clearing the snow outside their homes to help themselves and others. Sorry to disappoint you but that is not the case. People don’t clear their pavements because they cannot be bothered or they see it as ‘someone else’s job’. The reason I say that is because very few people actually know about this legal situation. That’s why the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has issued a warning to businesses.
The law should be the other way around. You get sued if it can be proved you made no attempt to clear the pavement. That would then mirror the case of when the postman or milkman etc slips in your garden or driveway, because you can at present be liable for not clearing it.
We all have a responsibility to society. Let’s use the law to promote social responsibility and cohesion instead of using it to undermine and destroy society.