Fleet News

Drivers call for higher fines for traffic offenders

The vast majority of drivers want to see much higher fines and tougher enforcement to tackle the risky and selfish drivers who repeatedly flout laws and get away with it, a survey suggests.

Nearly eight out of 10 drivers (78%) are in favour of fines of £200 or more for traffic offences such as speeding, using a mobile phone or careless driving - more than double the potential increase to £90 set out in recent government proposals.

The survey, which was conducted by the road safety charity Brake and Direct Line, also reports that half of respondents (47%) think fines should be £500 or more.

In addition, drivers are also fed up with habitual offenders, who use loopholes to keep their licence. More than three in four (78%) think it's wrong that some drivers who tot up 12 points are allowed to dodge a ban under an ‘exceptional hardship' clause.

In October 2011, Brake revealed that more than 10,000 drivers in England and Wales were driving with 12 points or more on their licence.

Ellen Booth, Brake senior campaigns officer, said: "The government must listen to the public, who recognise that far tougher penalties are needed to stop risky, selfish behaviour at the wheel and that we need to take dangerous repeat offenders off the roads.

“The government has proposed increasing fixed penalty fines for driving offences to a paltry £90: we say this is nowhere near enough, and drivers agree.

“We need far higher fines in line with the fact these offences pose a threat to human life, and all too often lead to tragedy. We also need to ensure our penalty points system is working, and drivers who repeatedly flout the law aren't being allowed to keep their licence.

“We need a simple, clear message from government: drivers who risk lives won't be tolerated and should expect to pay a high price."

Andy Goldby, director of motor underwriting and pricing at Direct Line, said: "The current levels of fines for speeding, careless driving or using a mobile phone whilst behind the wheel, are comparable to parking penalties.

“A greater deterrent is needed to stop those who think it is perfectly acceptable to break the law and endanger lives on the roads. The large majority of drivers want it too."

The survey of 1,000 drivers found that nearly half of drivers (47%) want fines increased to £500 or more, while a further 31% want the fine more than doubled to £200.

Only one in five drivers (23%) thought a £90 fine (the increase proposed by government) is sufficient to deter drivers taking illegal risks on roads.

Brake is calling for an increase in the level of fixed penalty fines for traffic offences to £500 at the very least, but ideally around £1,000, to reflect the seriousness of the crime.

It also wants to see the closure of the ‘exceptional hardship' legal loophole, so drivers who accrue 12 points lose their licence without exception and continued government support to driver improvement courses for first-time, low level offenders who have not completed a course for three years, but offering a financial incentive (lower fine) to go on courses rather than the removal of penalty points.

Finally, it is calling for traffic policing to be a national policing priority, to ensure greater numbers of front line police are on patrol on our roads, deterring offending.

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  • reg dixon - 21/09/2012 10:54

    Brake seem not to understand that fixed fines are regressive. To have high fixed fines will not discourage affluent drivers, but they could cripple poor people who have to use their old banger to get to work. If the points system isn't doing it's job then change it.

  • Darren - 21/09/2012 11:47

    Raising the fines is all well and good but will make no difference if no one is pulling over these poor drivers. Every day I see undertaking, jumping red lights, cutting through bus lanes, poor lane discipline (eg driving straight on in a turn left only lane), driving over hashed markings, stopping in a boxed section… the list goes on. But I never see a police car or bike pulling over these idiots! Stop worrying about how much they should be fined and start actually fining them!

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