The Department for Transport released the following notice today:
Careless drivers will be targeted under new proposals announced for consultation today by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning.
The proposals would make fixed penalty notices available for careless driving, giving the police greater flexibility in dealing with less serious careless driving offences and freeing them from resource intensive enforcement processes. The fixed penalty will also enable the police to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement. Drivers would still be able to appeal any decision in court.
Mike Penning said:
"Careless driving is a major public concern and a cause of deaths and injuries on our roads.
"These changes support both police enforcement and, for some cases, the associated offer of educational training for motorists unaware of the full, potential consequences of driving carelessly.
"We also need to make sure that the penalties for a wide range of fixed penalty motoring offences are set at reasonable levels, consistent with the potentially severe consequences of some infringements."
The proposed fixed penalty for careless driving will be £90 with three points on the driver's licence. The most serious example will continue to go through court, where offenders may face higher penalties.
Other proposals announced for consultation today also include plans to increase the payment levels for many motoring fixed penalty offences, such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt and using a mobile phone whilst driving. The proposals would see penalties for these offences increase from £60 to £90. Similar increases to other fixed penalties are also being considered for non-endorsable offences (such as vehicle defects) insurance offences and graduated fixed penalties (such as driver hour regulations).
There are no plans to make any changes to penalty levels for parking offences.
Fixed penalty levels for most of these motoring offences have not increased since the year 2000, and are now lower than other penalties of a similar severity.
The consultation opens today and will close on 5 September 2012. The consultation document can be found at http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2012-25/.
PACTS press release:
PACTS COMMENTS ON DfT CONSULTATION ON CHANGES TO THE TREATMENT OF PENALTIES FOR CARELESS DRIVING
Commenting on the consultation on changes to the treatment of penalties for careless driving, Robert Gifford, Executive Director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), said “The proposal to include careless driving in the list of potential Fixed Penalty Notices was included in a consultation in November 2008. At the time, PACTS gave a cautious welcome to the proposal. That remains our position today.
“In 2011, just over 26,000 drivers were prosecuted for careless or inconsiderate driving according to Ministry of Justice figures. The question will be whether there is an increase in enforcement as a result of this proposal. To enforce a FPN properly, there will need to be a greater police presence. At a time of cuts in police budgets and reductions in dedicated roads policing, increases in visible enforcement seem a little unlikely.
“Deterrence works through a combination of certainty, severity and speed. The most important of these is certainty. If there is a small likelihood of being caught, drivers will continue to behave illegally.
“In addition, the Department will need to ensure that the effect of any courses is monitored carefully. The evidence for the effectiveness of educational interventions is limited. Placing such weight on such evidence as the DfT cites suggests that this is a proposal undertaken more in hope than as a result of experience.”