As of last Friday, drivers on UK roads will face tougher fines for offences deemed to be careless driving and the prospect of earning three points on their license in the latest attempt by the government to crackdown on the number of road traffic accidents.
Among the increases include the fine for using a mobile or handheld device while driving being increased from £60 to £100, meanwhile motorway offences such as reversing on a motorway, driving on the hard shoulder or central reservation will also fall under the £100 banner, as does failing to stop for traffic lights, neglect of pedestrian rights and having too many people in your car.
Arguably the change to the legislation that is causing the most debate is the decision to hit motorists who hog the middle lane, cut people up or tailgate with £100 fines. Many motorists will welcome this move but there are concerns about how manageable these news laws are.
The main concern regarding this has come from the police themselves who are claiming that they are unenforceable. Steve White, Vice-Chairman of the policing body said: “It’s all very well for the DfT (Department for Transport) to come up with these new ideas when the Home Office are at the same time cutting the number of police around the country, which means a fall in the number of traffic police.
“The levels of fatal accidents are increasing on the roads while the number of police officers is at its lowest per 100,000 of population since the 1970s.
“The rules are a very useful tool but if you haven’t got the officers to give out the tickets, it’s not going to make a difference.
“The DfT and the Home Office need to talk to each other.”
But the road safety minister, Stephen Hammond, has said how important the new legislation is in order to bring down the number of accidents on the road saying: “Careless driving puts innocent people’s lives at risk. That is why we have made it easier for the police to tackle the problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed-penalty notice for low-level offending rather than taking these offenders to court.
“We have also increased penalties for a range of drinking offences to a level which reflects their seriousness and which will ensure that they are consistent with other similar penalty offences.”
1. Youtube; Zathras; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weStPoU9-64