Reckless drivers face on-the-spot fines

Traffic jam

New government plans will give the police the power to issue on–the–spot fines to careless drivers instead of taking them to court.

Drivers face instant penalty fees between £80 and £100 for careless driving offences such as tailgating and undertaking. The exact amount will depend upon the severity of the incident.

Speeding tickets are currently set at £60 but will also go up to the £80–100 mark. It's hoped that drivers given the option between paying a higher fine or taking an educational course will choose the latter.

New plans

Transport secretary Philip Hammond has today issued a written statement on road safety to the House of Commons outlining the Department for Transport's (DfT) new plans. The DfT has also revealed that the government is considering raising the speed limit on motorways to 80 miles per hour.

Other measures include re-testing disqualified offenders before they can regain their licence and a post-test vocational qualification for new drivers to help reduce insurance premiums.

Drivers who are up to 40% over the limit will no longer have the right to request a blood or urine test

The paper also calls for more educational courses to be offered to low-level offenders instead of having points deducted from their licence.

Tougher penalties will also apply to those driving under the influence of drugs, with the DfT aiming to give the police more power and requesting manufacturers develop drug-testing equipment.

In his forward Hammond writes he is "determined to crack down on the anti-social and dangerous driving that still leads to so many fatalities and serious injuries on our roads."

Welcome news

Motoring charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), says that in principal it has no problem with the announcements and in particular welcomes extra training for new drivers.

"Many young drivers crash simply because they lack driving experience. Extra training with in-depth coaching and more hours behind the wheel will prevent accidents and save lives," says chief executive Simon Best.

Criticism has been leveled at how the police will manage to enforce the spot fines for careless driving. Best says the IAM has reservations concerning the issuing of spot fines: 

"A strategy that punishes deliberate bad driving while allowing those who make simple human errors to improve has our full support. But we are concerned that issuing of spot fines for careless driving could downgrade the offence and will be monitoring the impact carefully."