A 150-year-old driving offence predates motorised vehicles but can still land you up to two years in prison.
As the Highway Code celebrates its 90th anniversary, motoring experts looked back at some of the more bizarre offences of the road.
Furious and Wanton Driving is right up there with the most outdated as it’s 150 years old.
It comes from 19th Century legislation but remains available to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to this day.
Outlined in Section 35 of The Offences Against The Person Act 1861, it states: “Whosoever, having the charge of any carriage or vehicle, shall by wanton or furious driving or racing, or other wilful misconduct, or by wilful neglect, do or cause to be done any bodily harm to any person whatsoever, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years.”
The ancient law was established to deter people from driving horse-drawn carriages in a reckless manner, but extends to non-motorised vehicles such as bicycles.
A statutory offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it also covers motor vehicles being driven on private roads that therefore do not come under the Road Traffic Act.
Penalties include up to two years in prison, an unlimited fine and up to nine points on your licence.
But recent data, obtained by UK leasing experts Select Car Leasing, found that no-one has been charged with the offence over the past two years.
That followed 2017 and 2018 which each had four cases of the offence, also known by the code 'DD90’.
The data, part of a Freedom of Information request to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), was correct up to July 11, 2020.
James O’Malley from Select Car Leasing said: “Driving laws in the UK do a decent job of keeping our roads safe for all users.
“They are in place to prevent a whole host of selfish acts, such as speeding and driving under the influence of drink or drugs.
“But sometimes there are these more unusual pieces of legislation that have hung around for well over a century and now appear to have much less use in modern times.”
Archives show that the offence was far more common in the 19th Century.
In 1889, greengrocer James Greenwood was brought before magistrates after “furiously driving a horse and spring cart” along Chapel Street in Oakworth, West Yorkshire.
He struck a child who was crossing the road and dragged them for a short distance. Greenwood was found guilty and fined 10 shillings, plus costs.