From today, there have been important changes to the process in which the police can deal with various traffic offences and careless driving. New penalties may cause many drivers to rethink the way that they behave on the road.
The changes give the police the power to issue more fines for careless or inconsiderate driving. Under the new measures, fines of £100 can be issued for offences such as “lane-hogging” or “tailgating” along with a three point driving licence penalty – although educational training can be offered as an alternative to the points.
The cost of fixed penalty fines for other offences, including using a mobile phone whilst driving or not wearing a seatbelt have increased.
WHICH OFFENCES ARE AFFECTED BY THE CHANGES?
Among the offences police are expected to focus on are:
• Driving too close to the vehicle in front (“Tailgating”)
• Failing to give way at a junction (not requiring evasive action by another driver)
• Overtaking and pushing into a queue of traffic
• Being in the wrong lane and pushing into a queue on a roundabout
• Lane discipline, such as needlessly hogging the middle or outside lanes
• Inappropriate speed
• Wheel-spins, handbrake turns and other careless manoeuvres
In reality, none of these are new offences, according to The Highway Code. However, in the past, they were often unpunished to avoid the long-winded process of taking a case to court.
More serious cases will still go through the court process, but this move gives the police greater flexibility when dealing with the “minor” offences in the hope that it will free up time and resources for both the police and the courts.
Drivers will still be able to appeal any decision in court.
What are your views on the new changes?
Will this improve road safety, particularly on our motorways?