Is it illegal to drive with a cracked or chipped windscreen?

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Adhering to the growing number of rules and regulations can sometimes lead to an overwhelming feeling of confusion, and when it comes to your work vehicle you need to understand what you need to do to keep even the car windscreen a legal and safe condition so you can keep providing your service to the people who need you.

So, it seems about time we tried to fix down the laws and regulations behind the laws behind driving cracked windscreens, as efficiently as we can. We hope you our simple guide of use.

Am I driving illegally if I have a cracked windscreen?

  • In the eyes of the law: yes. Under Section 40 of the Road Traffic Act, driving a motor vehicle with a crack or chip in the windscreen constitutes as driving a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition.
  • However, technically the placement of the chip in your windscreen affects whether your car is considered roadworthy – if it passes its MOT then the chip is safe and legal to drive with – however you should repair the chip as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

What is the penalty for driving a car in this condition?

  • Generally, if stopped by a police officer with this fault on your car, you could be issue with a fixed penalty notice of a fine and three points on your driving licence.

Is a cracked windscreen dangerous?

  • The windscreen is a critical part of the structural rigidity of the car. If there was a crack in the windscreen and it is not properly repaired or replaced quickly, it could cause the windscreen to fail, making for dangerous consequences for you and your passengers.

What does the Highway Code say about driving with a cracked windscreen?

  • There are two major stipulations in the Highway Code related to proper maintenance of your car. Rule 97 states your vehicle must be “legal and roadworthy” and Rule 89 states that your vehicle should be maintained to the “Road Vehicle (construction and use) regulations.”

What are the “Road Vehicle (construction and use) regulations?

  • This legislation states that all glass in the vehicle should be maintained to a proper standard as to not obscure the driver’s vision of a clear and full view of the road ahead.

What if I have an accident when my windscreen is already damaged?

  • If the accident is found to be a result of the crack in your windscreen impairing your vision, you could be charged for driving without due care and attention, especially if the issue was already known to the police and had not been repaired.

How does a damaged windscreen affect my car’s MOT?

  • Generally speaking it depends on the location of the chip, in particular on the area of the screen in front of the driver and the wipers- known as the “A Zone.”
    • If in this “A Zone” a chip bigger than 10mm in diameter will cause an MOT failure – less than this and the chip can be repaired

a)Screen1

  • Anywhere else the chip would have to be up to 40mm to cause MOT failure – if smaller than 40mm, the chip can be repaired

b)Break_Before_Web

When can I repair the windscreen- and when should I replace it?

  • Repairs can be done via specialist companies and involves filling the chip with a resin substance with glass-like properties. However you can only have your windscreen repaired if the damage has a diameter of no more than 10mm in the A Zone, or 40mm elsewhere. Although it is recommended you contact your insurance company before having any work done.

 

References.

Olliers Motor Law- “Can you drive your car even if it has a chip in the windscreen? Driving with a chipped windscreen | Is it legal?”

https://www.themotoringlaw.uk/driving-with-a-chipped-windscreen/

Mancunian Matters-“Legal Eagle: Can you drive your car even if it has a chip in the windscreen?”

http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/290970903-legal-eagle-can-you-drive-your-car-even-if-it-has-chip-windscreen

The Windscreen Company- “Is it illegal to drive with a cracked windscreen?” http://www.thewindscreenco.co.uk/news/legal-drive-cracked-windscreen/

Image A- 10mm windscreen chip- “What windscreen damage can be repaired? https://www.optic-kleer.co.uk/windscreen-damage-can-repaired/

Image B- Wider 40mm windscreen break- “GlasWeld Windscreen repair” https://www.glaswelduk.com/windscreen-repair