Cash-crash-scam-Criminal-motorists-flash-lights- at- junctions-and-let-drivers-smash-into-them.
Good manners on the road are often considered a rare and pleasant surprise.
But they are becoming the latest weapon among criminal gangs looking to cause accidents on the roads and make money out of innocent drivers.
Motorists are being warned about a new insurance scam where criminals deliberately cause accidents by flashing their lights at other drivers.
It is costly, it is dangerous and it is virtually impossible to prove.
Dubbed ‘flash for cash’ the scam involves criminals flashing their lights at junctions to apparently let other drivers out of a junction and then crashing into them on purpose.
It is believed to be the new tactic in the scam known as ‘crash for cash’ where gangs create collisions with other motorists in order to make huge insurance claims.
But the added danger with ‘flash for cash’ is that once the accident has taken place it becomes a case of one person’s word against another and is virtually impossible to prove in court allowing many to escape without charge.
The scam costs insurers hundreds of millions of pounds every year – an estimated £1.7 million a day – a cost which is passed on to motorists at a rate of between £50 and £100 a year in rising insurance premiums.
Even more worryingly the gangs tend to target newer more valuable vehicles of more vulnerable victims such as mothers with small children and the elderly.
Neil Thomas from Asset Protection Unit, a firm which helps the police and the insurance industry investigate fraud told the BBC that this tactic means they can avoid confrontations with drivers on the side of the road.
He said:’[They target] People who aren’t going to put up a fight single females with children in the back perhaps doing the school run, where they know there is going to be no resistance, no real argument at the scene.
‘The children are going to be there the children are going to be upset.’
But deliberately causing road accidents can have even more serious consequences.
In 2011 Baljinder Gill, 34, became the first person to be killed in Britain as a result of a deliberate ‘cash for crash’ collision.
Miss Gill was not the intended victim of the fraud, a criminal gang were actually intent on targeting the business van in front of her because they knew it would have valid insurance.
The experienced driver of the van managed to stop safely despite the gang’s attempt but Miss Gill’s Ford Fiesta rammed into the back of the van leaving her stranded in the fast lane of the A40.
Earlier this year three men were jailed for a total of 30 years for causing her death.
Speaking at the time of the trial Miss Gill’s family said she was ‘the innocent victim of a cold-blooded and calculated incident’.
According to the general rules of the road drivers are not meant to use their lights to allow people to pull out in front of them.
The Highway Code: says: ‘Flashing headlights. Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there.
‘Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users. Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully.’
But it is often also interpreted as a friendly gesture, a way of showing courtesy on the road.
Police hope that by warning motorists about ‘flash for cash’ scams they will be more careful in accepting the apparent kindness of strangers.
Detective Inspector Dave Hindmarsh from the Metropolitan Police said there are a number of ways such scams negatively affect other road users and described the rise of such scams as ‘a growing problem.’
He said: ‘Financially it costs insurers £392m a year – that impacts on motorists as it’s an extra £50 to £100 on every person’s premium so that’s a financial cost.
‘[There are] emotional costs, if you’re involved in a crash you could well lose your confidence, any passengers including children may well become wary of being passengers in cars, and of course you may get injured or killed.’
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