Fleet News

Rethink on penalties for dangerous driving

RADICAL proposals for a rethink of penalties for dangerous driving are set to have a major effect on companies and their drivers.

A Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions Road Safety Research Report, called 'Dangerous Driving and the Law' has recommended the new laws after research carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory found changes in the Road Traffic Act 1991 'had not led to an increase in convictions for serious driving offences, even though they were intended to be easier to prove'.

Proposals in the full document include a new offence between dangerous driving and careless driving, called negligent driving and causing death or serious injury by negligent driving.

This would fit between dangerous driving and careless driving and carry penalties including imprisonment, disqualification and community service. The offence would focus on the driver's duty of care to other drivers. Penalties for causing death by dangerous driving would be extended to include severe injuries.

A new offence called causing death by careless driving will also be considered.

Fixed penalty notices and substantial fines would be created for specific offences, includes tailgating, poor lane discipline, such as undertaking, and the use of mobile phones while driving.

The report added: 'There should be a clear message about the relationship between speeding and dangerous driving. Clear guidelines would ensure that drivers who exceed the speed limit by a significant amount would face prosecution for dangerous driving.'

This would take account the relative risk of speeds in different situations, the report added, while persistent offenders could have their vehicles confiscated.

Specialist prosecutors to ensure a higher success rate in cases would also be introduced and a new support scheme for victims of road accidents would also be created.

A Government spokesman said several departments were considering the recommendations but there was no date for when they would act on them.

nCopies of the report, called Dangerous Driving and the Law, are available on the DTLR's website, on www.roads.dtlr.gov.uk/roadsafety/research26/index.htm, or by calling 0870 1226236.

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