When the sun breaks through Manannan’s cloak, it’s easy to throw caution to your dress sense, as well as your normal (law-abiding) ways of behaving.
To prevent you from making sun-induced mistakes, we’ve compiled a Quinn Legal common sense guide to staying safe the legal way this summer.
1. Drinking + driving = don’t ever do it
Everyone knows the summer score. Email invites fly around offices, texts ping on mobiles and Facebook comments spiral out of control as you and your colleagues, friends and family organise nights out.
Stay legally safe on your summer evenings by organising the journey home ahead of time. Not only will you save yourself hassle at the end of the night, but you’ll prevent temptation to drive home after only one drink and avoid fines, driving points or worse, injury to yourself or others.
2. Drink responsibly
No one wants to end any night locked in a cell or to spend time being interviewed by Police Officers the next morning. Unfortunately, drinking and disputes are partners in crime, with many night-time incidents being caused or exacerbated due to one or both parties being drunk.
If you know alcohol has a negative effect on your behaviour, make a conscious effort to limit your number of drinks or rule out the spirits/beer/wine that you know will have a bad impact. Try to avoid people or places that you know might result in a conflict too.
Without thinking ahead for your night out, you could face major embarrassment, a police record, expensive fines, legal disputes or worse.
3. Concentrate on serving BBQ food, not fires
Whether you’re a BBQ legend or not, it’s crucial to take BBQ safety seriously. Over this year’s TT period, the Fire and Rescue Service reminded the public of the dangers of BBQs after a fire broke out on Groudle headland. Caused by a BBQ that was left unattended, the fires were extensive across gorse land, but luckily didn’t cause any injury.
Prevent visits from the Fire and Rescue Service or the Police by handling BBQs safely and paying due care and attention when putting fires out. Checking the general safety of your BBQ first and following the instructions carefully will ensure you don’t encounter claims of negligence, injuries or legal action.
4. Know where and when you can walk your dog
In the summer you’re more likely to take your dog for longer walks and possibly in different places to the winter months. On the Isle of Man, the Dogs Act 1990 gives local authorities the ability to create byelaws specifying when and where dogs can be walked.
According to The Douglas Dog Control Byelaws 2008: ‘From 1st May to the 30th September (inclusive) in any year, between 10.00 hours and 18.00 hours, dogs are prohibited from Douglas Beach (including the foreshore, all steps, slipways or other ways leading from the promenades thereto)’. This kind of restriction is applicable in other forms around the Island – so it’s important that you stay familiar with the rules and walk your dog sensibly to escape trouble with the law.
5. Sail the Manx waters safely
With the lighter nights and warmer weather, you might find yourself out on the open water with family and friends. Whether you have a role to play in sailing the boat or just being a good passenger, it’s wise to run through safety precautions before each individual trip.
If you’re the captain or a crew member, you must legally follow the Harbours Act 2010and adhere to the strict alcohol consumption limits. Not taking the law seriously could result in a hefty fine (up to £5k) and/or a court conviction, as well as having to deal with any accidental incidents at sea.
6. Keep your kids safe and sound
It should go without saying that it’s your responsibility to protect your children and make sure they’re supervised. In the summer months, factors like school holidays and better weather may mean that you need a little more help than normal.
Although there are no specific laws, it’s generally agreed that children under the age of 12 shouldn’t be left alone. Leaving your child or children on their own, even for a short time, could be classed as neglect (a criminal offence). To ensure your kids’ safety, organise child day care, draft in trustworthy family and friends or hire a reliable babysitter.
At Quinn Legal we know that most people use their common sense, but we also understand that sometimes good decisions are tougher to make when the sun is shining and that crazy-infectious summer feeling is in the air.
For advice about any of the legal topics covered in our guide or to chat about a different worry, get in touch with Jim Travers on 665522 or by emailing Jim@quinnlegal.im