New fixed penalty charges will be enforceable from this Friday (the 16th of August) for careless driving.
Under the new laws police have more flexibility to deal with less serious offences on the road side, the result of which could see many more motorists caught with a £100 fine and three points on their license. This is part of a move by the government to try and reduce the amount of time that is spent in British courts on driving offences.
Individuals caught under some of the new penalties will have the option to participate in educational training rather than take the points, much like in some current speeding cases. These ‘victimless offences’ courses will allow people to avoid a jump in their insurance premiums and having points added to their license. However, they will cost roughly £100. It also still stands that any decision that a motorist is not happy with can be appealed in court.
Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) come in two types. They are either endorsable which means they are issued by the police at the time of the offence but require you to hand over your license, either at the scene or within 7 days, for the points to be endorsed on it. FPNs can also be non-endorsable which means they are minor offences and carry just a fine and no points.
Changes To Fixed Penalty Notices
The list of changes to FPNs is quite exhaustive, we have picked out a few below:
£30 non-endorseable FPN becomes £50
Lighting offences (bulbs not showing full light, misuse of headlights)
Noise offences (using horn at night, creating unnecessary noise)
Cycle and motorcycle offences (cycling on path, motorcyclists not wearing protective headgear)
£60 endorseable FPN becomes £100
Using a mobile whilst driving
Careless driving (tailgating, middle lane hogging)
Neglect of traffic directions (not stopping at a red traffic light)
£60 non-endorseable FPN becomes £100
Failure to wear a seat belt whilst driving
Vehicle test offence (use of motor vehicle without test certificate)
£120 endorseable FPN becomes £200
Duty to identify driver (failure to abide by the duty to identify driver law)
£200 endorseable FPN becomes £300
Driving without third party insurance
You can view a more in depth list on the AA’s website.
Are you a middle lane Mary?
A survey carried out by Populus, for the AA, found that 29% of drivers admit to hogging the middle lane on a regular basis. The trend is even more prolific amongst younger drivers with 40% of them admitting to staying in the middle lane of the motorway. Under the UK Highway Code both the outside and middle lanes should only be used whilst overtaking, a law many seem to ignore.
The new legislation will make it an offence for drivers to not move into the near-side when it is clear for them to do so. However, these new plans have come under fire in the face of government cuts to the traffic policing force. With traffic police numbers having been reduced by 12% in the last five years it is argued that the already over stretched officers will struggle to implement these new fines on Britain’s ever busier roads.
It has also been highlighted by campaigners that the reason so many people are unaware of proper motorway driving etiquette is because it is not taught as part of the standard driving test. Although it is possible, and encouraged, for new drivers to participate in the government backed pass plus scheme many are disinterested. This issue could be rectified by a government Green Paper, that proposes allowing learner drivers to drive on the motorway as part of their training, which is due in the Autumn.
What do you think of the new Fixed Penalty Notices? Are they a good idea or an overzealous attempt by the government to help an already overstretched force of traffic officers to police our roads? Let us know in the comments below or via social media.
Written by Ryan Hill
Featured Image Attribution: Highways Agency
Image Two Attribution: Kenny Louie
Image Three Attribution: Police_Mad_Liam