My knee-jerk reaction when I hear of plans to increase motoring costs is typically a little annoyed or pretty angry. But when it comes to motoring fines I feel differently…
Personally, as a regular driver, I applaud the idea of increasing fines for careless driving and other motoring offences, especially if the list includes using a handheld mobile while driving. Fines for breaking the rules of the road could be increased from £60 to £90.
In another proposal, instead of being prosecuted and getting three points on your licence, you could pay £100 and take a day’s driving course to drum home the importance of not driving carelessly. This is already the case for some speeding offences.
Driven to distraction
This all sounds fine to me. After all, how many times has a driver near you veered manically across the road narrowly missing your car, or made an idiotic manoeuvre forcing you to take swift evasive action. Then, in both cases, as they come into sight, you can see that they’re engrossed in a phone conversation rather than thinking about driving.
OK, so I drive more miles than your average motorist, but it happens to me around once a week. And I’m concerned that the problem is getting worse as more people get smart phones and update their social networks on the move.
Last month a spokesperson from Devon and Cornwall police said its officers had seen an upsurge in the number of people using social media while driving. And other forces openly admit that driving while distracted is the cause of a large number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads every year.
Status updates cause danger
There have also been some terrifying experiments carried out recently too. One conducted by the Institute of Advanced Motorists – thankfully in a driving simulator – demonstrated that using social media while driving is more dangerous than drink-driving.
Raising the minimum fine for careless driving will give the police just what they need, a serious deterrent in their armoury to stop people being so reckless with their own and other people’s lives.