A viral TikTok trend, which has more than 780 million views, is putting young drivers at risk of hefty fines and even prosecution, with experts warning of the damaging consequences. The #PassengerPrincess videos see motorists and passengers recording themselves travelling in comfort and luxury, with air conditioning on, snacks, their own choice of music and holding hands with their partners.
While this may seem like a funny trend for young people to take part in, it could lead to fines up to £1,000, driving bans and even serious injuries.
James Armstrong, from Veygo, said: “Driving or being driven around like royalty is all the more appealing when the #PassengerPrincess trend is clocking millions of views on TikTok. I get it.
“Some passenger princesses have even been swapping their seatbelts for the comfort of a blanket!
“If you know someone who is jumping on this offending trend, you may want to politely suggest that they step down from their throne.”
Swapping seat belts for blankets
In some TikTok videos, the passenger can be seen wearing the seat belt improperly, or not at all in some cases. For passengers under 14, the driver is responsible for their safety.
For those over the age of 14, it is their own responsibility to make sure they wear a seat belt if there is one available.
Not wearing a seat belt is incredibly reckless and can result in a fine of up to £500, while wearing it improperly could result in a fine or police warning.
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With a growing number of cars being introduced with massive infotainment systems, drivers are being warned of the threat of being distracted when at the wheel, especially with someone else in the vehicle.
Most motorists should already be aware that they can be hit with a £200 fine and six penalty points if they use their mobile phone or other electronic device when driving.
However, many will be unaware that they can get three penalty points if they watch or engage with their passenger’s devices. This punishment can be upgraded to a £1,000 fine and even a driving ban in some cases.
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Feet on the dashboard
In many #PassengerPrincess videos, people in the videos will remove their shoes and either sit cross-legged or put their feet on the dashboard.
While this may be comfortable for them, this could lead to serious injury and even death. The location of the airbag means in the event of a crash, their legs will be pushed up and back, potentially into their head and shoulders.
While it is not illegal for a passenger to sit in a comfortable position, sitting in a manner which could obscure the view of the road ahead is against the Highway Code and should be avoided.
Driving snacks and drive-thrus
Mr Armstrong commented on the trend of people eating or snacking in their car while at the wheel, with it potentially leading them to lose control of the car.
He added: “Eating a takeaway in your car may seem like a perfect option, especially amid a rise in drive-thru takeaways across the UK but driving without due care and attention carries an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points, so it is best to park before eating, or to keep snacks to yourself.
“If you cause an accident while eating behind the wheel, you may be prosecuted, lose your licence and get a fine of up to £5,000.”
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