Roadside penalties planned for careless driving
- AuthorSean Joyce
The corridors of power are currently full of people considering whether to provide the Police with the power to fine careless drivers at the roadside. The initiative is part of a government strategy to make Britain's roads safer and would reduce the amount of people sent to Court for such offences as driving without due care and attention, not being in control of a motor vehicle and careless driving. The system may be similar to the current fixed penalty ticket method that exists for more minor offences such as speeding and using a mobile phone.
The obvious problem with such a proposal is that it does not allow any mitigation or a full explanation to be provided to the Police or the Court, and it certainly does not favour people that wish to defend the case in Court. The Police Officer will again be promoted to professional witness, decision maker on whether to prosecute/give a ticket and Magistrates when they pass the sentence which will undoubtedly be points and a fine. These systems often have a set penalty per offence which the Police are unable to vary so the discretion that the Court holds is again taken away.
The new proposals will target motorists who tail-gate, undertake or cut others up and the intentions at this time are that 'offenders' will receive a fine of at least £80 and three points on their licence. There has been no mention yet as to whether the new ticket system will form part of Police Officers performance reviews/targets. There is already criticism of the system in that it is far too simplistic and cannot be tailored to each situation. The critics have also noted that it may become a band aid to cover a problem and long term to save money within the Court system and Crown Prosecution as less and less offences will reach Court.
The Transport Secretary Philip Hammond will outline his proposals this week to MPs. The Department for Transport has commented that the proposals would also include a crackdown on drug-driving and the closing of legal loopholes that allow people to escape drink-driving charges, whether they have the help of specialist motoring Solicitors or not.
Although such proposals are not in place yet it is clear that the Government and Police will be concentrating their efforts once again on the motorist, and it may well be that very minor infringements bring points endorsed on your licence. If you require any assistance with any motoring offence then please call Stephensons for immediate free legal advice: 0845 00 20736.
By motoring offences solicitor, Martyn Walsh