Scales of justiceDavid Ebener/DPA/Press Association Images

A driver in the USA has been found guilty of driving offences, and as well as having to pay a fine, she will also be forced to carry a sign, which declares her to be an idiot.

So what did she do, and what kinds of penalties does dangerous driving carry over here?


"Idiot"

Shena Hardin, of Cleveland Ohio, was found guilty of dangerous driving. The incident in question saw her drive onto the pavement in order to avoid waiting for a school bus to stop and drop off children. It was filmed on the mobile phone of one of the children the bus, and witnesses claimed that this wasn't the first time she had done it.

The judge noted that she wasn't showing any signs of remorse, so she decided to do her bit to make the woman feel genuinely remorseful. In addition to a $150 fine, and having her licence suspended for 30 days, she will also be forced to carry a sign, with the words "only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus" written on it.

Punishments

Ian Crowder, a spokesman for AA insurance, said it would be difficult to imagine that sort of thing happening here. However, he said drivers in the UK will suffer their own punishments if they are convicted of dangerous driving.

He warns that the fine is just the start of it, and that the cost of the increased premiums can be surprising. He says: "I would expect that those who were convicted of dangerous driving would find it very hard to get insurance. Even where they could, they could expect premiums to be 50% higher than before the conviction."

He adds: "People convicted of any offence are much more likely to make a claim than those with a clean licence, so they are reflecting the additional risk."

He highlighted that someone who was convicted of a serious offence may be ordered to pay a fine of £300. However, they could easily expect their insurance to increase by £200 in the year after the offence (although the increase would gradually reduce over time if they made no subsequent claims). He says: "They could well find that over the years they end up £1,000 worse off because of the conviction."