Last week the government took positive steps in legislating to prevent road traffic accidents (RTA) when it handed the police new powers to punish drivers who do not stick to the rules of the road.
Under new plans unveiled by the Transport Minister last week, offending drivers who are caught tailgating or hogging the middle lane could now be hit with a spot fine of £100 and have 3 points put on their license.
As well as this the police will now able to hand out fixed penalties to those drivers who fail to give way at junctions or are caught forcing their way into busy traffic queues. They can also issue sanctions for drivers who use the wrong lane at roundabouts and anyone who performs a handbrake turn or cuts up other road users, in what is a sign of intent in the fight to cut down the amount of accidents on British roads.
Discussing the new plans Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said: “Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people’s lives at risk. That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court.”
He also announced that over the coming months the government would be reviewing and increasing the level of a number of fines for motoring offences in order to drive down the numbers of RTAs.
It will be the first time fixed penalty fines have been increased since 2000 and it is hoped that the higher fees will go a long way to deter road users from committing offences that could put other drivers at risk.
The news was welcomed by the AA with president Edmund King saying: “AA members broadly support an increase in the level of the fixed penalty. Our members also fully support educational training as an alternative to penalty points.”
“We are also pleased to see that at long last new powers and fines will be given to the police to tackle the top three pet hates of drivers – tailgaters, mobile phone abusers and middle lane hogs.”
This is certainly a positive step by the government to prevent accidents from happening and time will tell if it will make a difference. It is certainly a better way to decrease the amount of RTA claims than cutting the legal aid of genuine accident victims, which begs the question why have they waited 13 years to increase the fines if there was such a big problem with RTA claims?
1. South Wales Argus; Ian Craig; http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/14483462.Homeless_man_who_was_on_cannabis_jailed_after__high_speed_police_chase__/?ref=mrb&lp=8