From July the police will have the power to issue fixed penalty notices for a number of careless driving offences. The fine for committing these offences has also increased from £60 to £100.
Offences covered by the new law include speeding, tailgating, hogging the middle lane and using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel. Anyone caught doing any of these will be fined £100 and get three penalty points on their licence.
As is already the case, the police will still be able to offer motorists the chance to take part in a driving course in lieu of points.
Speeding up the process
The change will make it quicker and easier for the police to prosecute careless drivers, as they will no longer have to be taken through the court system. However, the most serious cases will still go to court and offenders may face higher penalties.
According to official statistics, using a mobile phone while driving contributed to 374 road casualties in 2011. The new laws aim to highlight the seriousness of these offences.
Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said: ‘Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people’s lives at risk. That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court.
‘We are also increasing penalties for a range of driving offences to a level which reflects their seriousness and which will ensure that they are consistent with other similar penalty offences.’
The fines for a number or other motoring offences have also increased. For example, non-endorsable offences, such as not displaying a tax disc and stopping on the motorway hard shoulder, have risen from £30 to £50, and driving without insurance now carries a £300 fine, up from £200.