On-the-spot fines for careless driversPolice get extra powers in road safety effort

11 May 2011

Driving fines

Government says new road safety rules will shift focus away from speeding cameras

Police will be given the power to hand out on-the-spot fines of up to £100 for careless drivers as part of a government effort to refocus road safety laws.

The fixed penalty notices have been designed to combat aggressive drivers who tailgate, undertake or weave in and out of traffic, without needing to take them to court.

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The Department for Transport (DfT) said the new measures, likely to come into force in 2012, would also include a crackdown on drug-driving and the closure of loopholes that allow people to escape drink-driving charges.

Disqualified motorists will have to undergo retraining and may have to retake their driving test before getting their licence back. In serious cases, courts will have the power to seize vehicles.

There will also be a post-test qualification and extra help for new drivers.

3,500 accidents preventable

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said: "This report marks a sea-change in how we tackle road safety in this country. We are determined to differentiate between wilfully reckless drivers and the law-abiding majority who sometimes make honest mistakes, or who have allowed their skills to deteriorate.

"We will focus relentlessly on cracking down on the really reckless few, who are responsible for a disproportionately large number of accidents and deaths on our roads. By allowing the police to focus resources on dealing with these drivers, we can make our roads even safer."

A statement from the DfT said that 3,500 deaths and serious injuries could have been prevented in a year if the performances of the best local authorities and police forces were replicated across the country.