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Government proposes heavier fines for driving offences

Wednesday 1st February 2012

Motorists who speed, use a mobile at the wheel or ignore signals and pedestrian crossings could face tougher fines under new plans proposed by Ken Clarke, justice secretary (RAC Motoring News).

The Government proposals outline changes to victims' services and compensation, so that an extra £50million would be raised via tougher penalties and an increase in the victims’ surcharge.

Currently, fines of £60 are handed out for driving while using a phone and for failing to wear a seatbelt, but these could increase to between £80 and £100, according to the DfT.

A consultation document, published Ken Clarke, said: “The proposed increases for motoring offences include those in relation to excessive speed, control of a vehicle, mobile phone use, ignoring signals and pedestrian crossings, and failure to wear a seatbelt.

“The exact amount of the increase will depend on a detailed assessment of what effect the increases would have on payment rates, and on public consultation by the DfT early this year.”

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Clearly speeding motorists are law breakers but their punishment should fit the crime, not turn into a tax paid only by this particular group of offenders because it is easy to collect.”

Click here to read the full RAC Motoring News report.

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There are of course benefits for those offered a speed awareness course. Marginal speeding is currently socially acceptable, however auto pilot driving creates risk, so does phone use at the wheel. To raise fines to an amount that is a little more realistic is a good idea. After all if you don't break the law you don't pay a fine.
This government never intended to end any war on the motorist, a little research uncovers the vote winning ethic, not a true belief.

However one person slows down because £100 is too much of a financial risk, could see one life saved, there is no price tag for that.
A.Green Northants

Has the Govt. considered who might enforce these tougher restrictions on drivers? Roads policing has been cut to the bone, so it would seem as though announcements are made with the intention of creating a climate of fear, but the truly savvy law-breaking drivers will just carry on as normal. Let's invest in a bit of enforcement, so that there are some teeth to the Govt's plans.
David Suffolk

The reality of raising an extra £50 million probably means it will largely be gained from speeding offences, which may be what Professor Stephen Glaister was refering to.

The fact that there has been no demonstrated benefit from the millions of citizens convicted so far is one issue, and the proportionality of the punishment for the crime is entwined in that.

But we are perhaps moving to a more honest admission that the cash raised is the driving force in enforcement. After all, this country is in real financial trouble.
Dave Finney - Slough

This seems to raise an interesting paradox; the government seem to be suggesting that it's in their interests and therefore the interests of the people and specifically the victims of crime that motorists continue to violate traffic law. In fact Mr Clarke seems to be banking on it. Surely that is a conflict of interest?
Dave, Leeds

In response to DF - only if you commit any of the offences under consideration! Let's not forget motorists need not pay a penny in fines if they obey the rules of the road! Simples (and so much safer!)...to quote an old buddie of mine (you know who you are!)....all those not in favour of speed cameras raise your right foot.

In response to HB - well said.
Susan, Northamptonshire

If Professor Glaister's comments have been reported in full, I would be disappointed that he has chosen to focus only on the speeding element of these proposals. The DfT referred to speeding, mobile phone use, ignoring signals and pedestrian crossings, all of which are evidenced as higher risk actions that put other road users at increased risk of injury. Plus failing to use a seatbelt, which is one of the most effective casualty reduction measures available - saving NHS resources and a great deal of entirely avoidable injuries.
Could we add failing to comply with the instructions of a School Crossing Patrol to the list?
Honor Byford

Is this part of "ending the war on the motorist"?

The UK debts do mean they have to raise money from somewhere so it seems the target is £50 million more from motorists. Is that around £2 more per driver on average?
Dave Finney - Slough