The changes will give the police the power to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving and allow them greater flexibility when dealing with less serious careless driving offences—such as tailgating or middle lane hogging—as well as freeing them from resource-intensive court processes. The police will also be able to offer educational training as an alternative to licence endorsement. Drivers will still be able to appeal any decision in court.
Careless drivers put lives at risk and are also a major source of concern and irritation for law-abiding motorists.
Fixed penalty levels for most motoring offences—including using a mobile phone at the wheel and not wearing a seatbelt—will rise to £100 to bring them into line with the penalties for similar non-motoring fixed penalties. Fixed penalty levels for most of these motoring offences have not increased since 2000 and these changes are intended to ensure that penalties for motoring offences reflect the seriousness of the offence and are consistent with similar penalty offences—such as disorder.
The fixed penalty for careless driving will be £100 with three points on the driver’s licence. The most serious examples will continue to go through court, where offenders may face higher penalties.
The changes, which we aim to bring into force in July this year, are being introduced following extensive public consultation with road safety groups and police forces.
We are also increasing penalties for a range of other driving offences to a level which reflects their seriousness and which will ensure that they are consistent with other similar penalty offences:
A non-endorsable £30 fixed penalty notice will rise to £50;
An endorsable £60 and non-endorsable fixed penalty notice will rise to £100;
An endorsable £120 fixed penalty notice will rise to £200;
The fixed penalty notice for driving with no insurance will rise from £200 to £300.
Graduated fixed penalties (mainly for commercial goods and passenger-carrying vehicles and includes offences like drivers’ hours and overloading) and financial deposits (for drivers without a satisfactory UK address) will also increase:
A £30 non-endorsable fine will rise to £50;
A £60 endorsable and non-endorsable fine will rise to £100;
A £120 endorsable and non-endorsable fine will rise to £200;
A £200 endorsable and non-endorsable fine will rise to £300.
Endorsable road traffic offences contribute to a significant number of casualties. For example, in 2011, excess speed contributed to 213 deaths and using a mobile phone while driving contributed to 374 road casualties.
Though penalty levels will increase, penalty points will not change. Fixed penalty notices for parking, waiting and obstruction offences will also remain unchanged.