Fleet News

Fleet drivers face retraining

COMPANY car drivers who commit traffic offences face retraining, tough community sentences and could have their vehicles confiscated under new proposals to get tough on motorists who break the law.

The proposals for England, Scotland and Wales are part of a string of new Government initiatives dealing with offences at all levels, ranging from an increase in penalties for speeding to tougher jail sentences for drivers who kill.

The Home Office measures are in response to a Government consultation on road traffic penalties and prompted reassurance for law-abiding motorists from Home Office Minister Bob Ainsworth. He said: 'The measures will affect only those who commit road traffic offences. Those who do not break the law have nothing to fear.'

Key recommendations, which will be introduced in the Criminal Justice Bill in the autumn, include an increase in the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving, careless driving or while drunk from 10 years' imprisonment to 14 years.

Tough new community sentences for other offences could include working in hospitals to meet the victims of accidents caused by bad driving.

A new two-tier fixed penalty system for speeding offences with a higher level of penalty for more serious cases will increase the likelihood of a driving ban if a motorist re-offends.

Driving without proper control of the vehicle, such as while using a mobile phone, could also lead to an endorsement as well as a fine.

Drivers who have at least six penalty points and those disqualified for a period of at least 56 days will have the opportunity to attend, at their own expense, a driver retraining and improvement programme.

Graham Griffiths, chief executive of fleet driver training company DriveTech, said: 'Companies should encourage staff with at least six points on their licence or who face a lengthy ban to undertake a retraining programme.

'Not only will the employee benefit, but the company will benefit as at-work driving safety will improve.'

In all there are 22 proposals, including the option to temporarily confiscate or immobilise vehicles, particularly at weekends, for certain offences.

Ainsworth said: 'The message we are sending out is clear: dangerous driving kills and those found guilty can expect to be severely punished.

'We need to ensure that the deterrent to dangerous driving is adequate if we are to cut death and injuries that are caused.

'The new penalties are meant to do that.'

  • Details of the Government's proposals for sentencing of motoring offences are available at www.homeoffice.gov.uk
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