Government proposes 50% rise in fines for motoring offences

FIXED penalty notices for a range of motoring offences including speeding and using a mobile phone look set to be increased by 50% to £90 under Government proposals.

 

In addition, careless drivers are also to be targeted with a fixed penalty notice option available for police giving them greater flexibility with less serious careless driving offences and freeing them from resource intensive enforcement processes.

 

The fixed penalty will also enable the police to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement. Drivers would still be able to appeal any decision in court.

 

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said: ‘Careless driving is a major public concern and a cause of deaths and injuries on our roads.

 

‘These changes support both police enforcement and, for some cases, the associated offer of educational training for motorists unaware of the full, potential consequences of driving carelessly.

 

‘We also need to make sure that the penalties for a wide range of fixed penalty motoring offences are set at reasonable levels, consistent with the potentially severe consequences of some infringements.’

 

The proposed fixed penalty for careless driving will be £90 with three points on the driver’s licence. The most serious example will continue to go through court, where offenders may face higher penalties.

 

At present, the police can enforce careless driving offences by issuing a warning with no further action or summons to court for the more serious cases. The offence attracts between three and nine penalty points, a fine of up to £5,000 and discretionary disqualification. There is a separate offence for causing death by careless driving, which has higher penalties, including mandatory disqualification and the option of a custodial sentence.

 

Other proposals announced in the consultation document include plans to increase the payment levels for many motoring fixed penalty offences, such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt, using a mobile phone whilst driving and passing red traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. The proposals would see penalties for such offences increase from £60 to £90.

 

Similar increases to other fixed penalties are also being considered for non-endorsable offences such as vehicle defects, lighting, noise or traffic regulation orders (from £30 to £45); insurance offences (from £200 to £300) and graduated fixed penalties such as driver hour regulations by a similar proportion.

 

The Government has ruled out making any changes to penalty levels for parking offences.

 

Fixed penalty levels for most motoring offences have not increased since 2000, and, said the Government, were now lower than other penalties of a similar severity.

 

Responding to the proposals, IAM director of policy Neil Greig said: ‘We are unconvinced that making careless driving a fixed penalty notice offence will improve road safety.

 

‘Careless driving covers a range of offences, varying from parking to highly irresponsible behaviour which deserves a court summons. The IAM strongly support driver re-education courses and these could still be handed out through courts.

 

‘An increase in speeding and other penalty fines is needed to keep up with inflation. Yet the Ministry of Justice only recently suggested a victim surcharge be added to them.  This would make any increase much larger. The real aim of fines for motoring offences should be deterrence rather than generating income.’

 

The proposals follow up key commitments from the Government’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety published in May 2011.

 

The consultation period runs until September 5. The consultation document can be found at http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2012-25/.


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