Fleet News reported last week that as part of the Police Reform Act, which hit the statute books this year, the police can stop drivers and issue an 'annoyance' fine. It can be issued if officers believe the vehicle is being driven in a way that is likely to cause 'alarm, distress, or annoyance' to members of the public.
Adam Derbyshire, operations director at Banbury, claimed the Act was another step towards living in a 'police state'. He said: 'The Government is more interested in thinking of ways to victimise and exploit the motorist than catching real and dangerous criminals.'
Neil Holden, service manager for Servequip, said: 'Will there be a fine next for walking on the cracks in the pavement? My partner annoys me sometimes while I'm driving – with this new legislation does this mean that I can make a citizen's arrest?'
However, Tim Howett, fleet administrator at Danka, argued that the Act could make the roads safer for everyone. He said: 'I feel that so called 'annoying' drivers are one of the main attributes towards road rage. It can also have a big affect on congestion as well.
'Travelling down the motorway every day and travelling during busy times, you see people driving with no respect for anyone else on the road. By this, I mean, 'lane hopping,' driving while on the phone or not indicating. There is nothing that annoys me more than seeing some other inconsiderate drivers risking their lives as well as mine.'
He argued that action needed to be taken and potentially a new form of fine would be the way forward.
The Association of Chief Police Officers has defended the new legislation, saying it reflected the Government's intention to legislate heavily on anti-social behaviour. The act shows a determination among officials to ensure drivers are held to account for their actions while driving.
Last week, the Sentencing Advisory Panel recommended tougher sentences for drivers involved in fatal accidents, if there were contributing factors, such as falling asleep at the wheel or using a mobile phone.