Op Snap | Two drivers receive prison sentences after filming themselves racing on Snapchat
On the 2nd June, 2020 a member of the public submitted evidence of dangerous driving via Operation Snap to Gwent Police.
Operation SNAP was set up by GoSafe in 2017 to deal with submissions of video and photographic evidence from members of the public in relation to witnessed driving offences. It allows the public to make reports 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and securely upload their footage and make a statement at the point of first contact.
The footage; taken from the Snapchat account of the offending motorist and showed the driver racing at speeds in excess of 150mph against a motorcyclists, who was riding on one wheel during the early part of the video as he passed the VW Golf. Both vehicles had to avoid other road users as well as a series of traffic cones as two lanes of the motorway had been closed.
To further aggravate the offence, the offending motorists had recorded the footage of the race on their mobile, which was then uploaded and posted on their Snapchat account whilst driving at 150mph, putting themselves and other road users at serious risk of collision and injury.
Initial checks showed that the driver of the VW Golf already had 8 points on their driver’s licence for speeding related offences. The offending motorists was arrested for dangerous driving a few days later and admitted to the two offences during interview, but refused to provide details of the motorcyclist after stating it was a friend.
The offender’s mobile phone was seized and an Instagram conversation between them and an unknown male timed on the day of the offence was discovered. The conversation talks about the rider of the motorcycle not being able to keep up with the VW Golf, during the high speed race.
The motorcyclist was eventually identified through intensive and thorough investigation work by DC Love of Gwent Police.
Despite making no comment to the offence of dangerous driving, a number of conversations over social media were identified between the offending motorists and himself, including:
“ Were in trouble... someone we know reported us to the police off my snapchat when I posted a video of us messing about…….But basically I’m banned from driving they’ve taken my car and my phone I refused to give your name but they’re gonna find out from your number plate……”
Both offenders were charged with Dangerous Driving - Sec 2, Road Traffic Act 1988 and appeared at Newport Magistrates Court on the 12th November, 2020, where they were committed to Crown Court by Newport Magistrates.
The offenders appeared before Judge Daniel Williams on the 21st January, 2021 where the driver of the white VW Golf was given an 8 months prison sentence (suspended for 18 months), a 12 month disqualification and an extended test to be passed along with 140 hours of unpaid work in the community.
The motorcyclist was sentenced to 6 months in prison (suspended for 18 months), a 12 month disqualification with an extended test to be passed along with 100 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Teresa Ciano, GoSafe Partnership Manager who run Operation SNAP in Wales said
“This conviction shows the excellent investigation by DC Love and highlights how important Operation SNAP is in bringing to justice dangerous drivers on Welsh Roads.”
If you've witnessed dangerous or careless driving on the roads in Wales and would like to report it, you can do so by sending your photos or footage to us via www.gosafe.org