Car cruising will be banned across the Black Country after a ground breaking injunction was secured by 4 local authorities.

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Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall councils, working in partnership with West Midlands Police, secured the injunction from the High Court in Birmingham on Monday 1 December, 2014.

The injunction forbids people from participating in a "car cruise" anywhere within the Black Country - and therefore within the 4 boroughs of Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall - or from promoting, organising or publicising any car cruising event within the same area.

Car cruising - the act of drivers meeting on the public highway on either an organised or impromptu basis to race or show off in their cars - is noisy, dangerous and illegal.

Regular gatherings take place at a number of "hotspots" around the Black Country, where drivers and spectators turn local roads into a race track. They include the Black Country Route in Bilston, Birmingham New Road on the border of Wolverhampton and Dudley, Flood Street in Dudley, Bean Road Industrial Estate, Tipton, Hallens Drive in Wednesbury, Brickyard Road in Walsall and Moxley Industrial Estate.

Groups of car cruisers have also congregated on public and superstore car parks across the Black Country.

Primarily occurring on Sunday evenings, these gatherings have been known to attract up to 250 vehicles and hundreds of spectators, with councils and West Midlands Police receiving hundreds of complaints over the last few years.

These range from vehicles and spectators obstructing highways or residential or business properties, to dangerous driving, excessive noise from revving engines and stereo systems, littering, verbal abuse, swearing and intimidation. There have also been a number of collisions involving vehicles taking part in car cruises.

The injunction, granted by His Honour Judge Robert Owen QC (sitting as a High Court Judge), has been issued against "persons unknown" - meaning anyone breaching the injunction will be at risk of being in contempt of court, for which an adult can face up to 2 years in prison and a fine. In addition, police retain their powers in relation to traffic offences including driving without insurance, driving an unroadworthy vehicle and driving without due care and attention.

It prohibits a number of activities typically associated with car cruising, including speeding, racing and driving in convoy, performing stunts, sounding horns or playing music as to cause a significant public nuisance, using foul or abusive language and threatening, intimidating behaviour and causing an obstruction on a public highway, whether moving or stationary.

It also prohibits a number of consequences associated with car cruising, including excessive noise, danger or risk of injury to road users and pedestrians, damage or risk of damage to property and significant risk of harm, public nuisance and annoyance to the public.

The application was brought by the 4 Black Country councils and West Midlands Police, led by Wolverhampton City Council.

Speaking on behalf of the partners, Councillor Elias Mattu, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, said: "Car cruising has been a bone of contention for local residents and businesses for many years.

"The activities are not only wholly anti social, but also illegal and dangerous, putting the safety of participants and spectators at risk; indeed, it's only a matter of time until someone is seriously injured or even killed.

"The 4 Black Country councils and West Midlands Police have received hundreds of complaints about car cruising - from dangerous driving to noise, verbal abuse and intimidation.

"I am delighted that the High Court has issued this ground breaking injunction prohibiting car cruising right across the Black Country, which will help prevent the issue from simply being shifted from part of the Black Country to the next.

"I'd like to acknowledge the dedication of Wolverhampton's legal team and anti social behaviour team, and the work of partner councils and West Midlands Police in securing this injunction, which I am confident will have a positive impact on the lives of law abiding people across the Black Country."

Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman, head of West Midlands Police's Traffic unit, said: "I welcome this Black Country wide injunction. It will form the backbone of our ongoing measures to target people using the road as a racetrack while ensuring the safety of others.

"As well as the obvious dangers of driving at speed on urban roads, car cruising generates a lot of late night noise nuisance for people living near key routes.

"Law abiding drivers can also feel intimidated when they inadvertently find themselves in the middle of a gathering."

Over the next few weeks there will be a sustained campaign to raise awareness of the injunction through traditional and social media. Signage will also be erected around car cruising hotspots.

Councillor Mattu added: "It should be stressed that we are not seeking to prevent legitimate car enthusiasts from enjoying their hobby. If they meet to lawfully admire and display their cars for others' benefits and, in doing so, aren't causing any of activities prohibited by the injunction - in short, if they are not causing a public nuisance - they are not car cruising and the injunction will not apply to them.

"What we want to do is put a stop to the menace of car cruising, which is making life a misery for so many people across the Black Country."

Anyone who witnesses a car cruise on the public highway or publically accessible place is asked to call police on 101.

To read a copy of the injunction, and for more information, please visit Type=articles;Articleid=5901;Title=Car cruising injunction;.

  • released: Friday 19 December, 2014