New & Increased Driving Penalties Now In Force

Tuesday, 20. August 2013

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Department for Transport

Department for Transport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The news of the moment relates to the raft of new driving laws that could end up with on the spot fines of £100 and 3 points on the offender’s driving licence. In addition the old bill’s powers have been increased when dealing with existing offenders in order to reduce the number of cases going to court.

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Much of the industry feels that this may be a bit of a cash cow and with targets set for the number of tickets issued it could also cause tickets to be issued in a somewhat ruthless manner even though lives are not apparently put at risk.

So what are the changes? First of all it is illegal to now hog the middle lane of the motorway. It is also illegal to tailgate, either of which will attract a fine of £100 and 3 points on the offender’s licence. In the case of serious offenders the police can still opt to issue a ticket that will require the driver to attend court.

There will also be a degree of flexibility as the authorities will be able to provide training as an alternative to the points on the licence, as currently happens with speeding first offenders. As with other fixed penalties drivers will still have the right of appeal through the court system.

Some fines will increase such as using a phone whilst driving, up from £60 to £100 as will also be the case with less serious speeding offences. Non endorsable offences such as not having a visible tax disc or failing to give way at a junction will attract fines of £50, up from £30.

Not wearing a seatbelt will now cost the driver £100 and 3 points, up from £60. Finally driving without insurance will increase from £200 to £300. Defending the new fines the Department for Transport said that fines hadn’t been increased since 2000 and were now out of step with other non vehicle related offences.

My personal view is that some of the more serious offenders may get off lightly with a fine when previously they would have ended up in court which is much more of a wake up call than a fixed penalty ticket which is simply an inconvenience for many offenders.

Mobile phone laws need to be tightened, I’ve seen so many potential accidents whilst drivers have tried to negotiate a roundabout or weave their way through parked vehicles with disregard for pedestrians, that something more needs to be done but will an increased fine be enough – probably not!

Let’s see what happens in 12 months when I report the road accident statistics. I suspect they won’t be any different to now. We need education, not random penalties.

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