Fleet News

Industry asked for input into planned changes to driving laws

The industry is being asked to take part in a major road safety consultation announced by the Department for Transport (DfT).

It outlines a series of proposals aimed at tackling speeding motorists and drink and drug drivers, with the intention of cutting the 3,000 road deaths each year.

“Britain has one of the best road safety records in the world and the number of people killed or hurt has fallen dramatically in the last decade.

"But too many people are still dying on our roads,” said road safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick.

“To tackle this we must crack down on the most dangerous drivers - the selfish minority whose reckless behaviour can have a catastrophic impact on innocent victims and their families.”

The consultation contains a range of proposals including a higher fixed penalty of six penalty points for drivers who exceed the limit by a dangerous margin - 20mph or more above most speed limits.

In addition, careless driving could become a fixed penalty offence, formal drug-drive limits could be introduced and the question of reducing the drink-drive limit is being considered.

But a majority of drivers, who responded to an online survey by RoadPilot, felt that the speed limits currently imposed on UK roads were too low.

“There are currently over one-million UK drivers with six-or-more points on their licence, who – if the legislation goes through unchanged – are potentially just one offence away from a ban,” said James Flynn, RoadPilot’s chief executive.

However, road safety charity Brake is calling for tougher penalties for speeding and action where drink driving is concerned.

Mary Williams, chief executive at Brake, said: “Britain has one of the highest drink drive limits in Europe and it must be reduced.”

Industry bodies, including the BVRLA and the Fleet Safety Association, have already been asked to comment on the proposals, while fleet trainers DriveTech and IAM Commercial are backing Government action.

But, both stressed that fleet managers can start addressing these issues now.

Steve Johnson, communications director at DriveTech, said: “Driver policies need to stipulate that driving illegally is against company policy and driver prosecution will be considered a disciplinary offence.”

IAM Commercial’s managing director Seb Goldin added: “Risk assessments should be conducted on a regular basis to ensure factors such as seasonal changes in road conditions and changes in role requirements are addressed and the appropriate training provided.”

To view and respond to the DfT consultation, which closes on February 27, 2009, visit www.dft.gov.uk

The Government will collate all responses before making a decision on whether to pursue any of the proposals.



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