/ Motoring

It’s fine by me to raise the cost of motoring offences

Distracted female driver on phone, applying make-up

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.

Comments
Member

A knee-jerk reaction to these problems always seems to be fines. Then the powers that be estimate how much income they will generate from the fines and earmark the spending of these monies.
This indicates that fining is not so much a deterrent but more about using peoples bad behaviour to raise revenue, the projected revenue is dependent on people offending, so it make economic sense for people to carry on offending, rather than stop their bad behaviour.

[I remember when the ‘congestion charge zone’ was set up in central London, Ken said ‘the only way we can afford to run this is through the fines we will be getting’. If everyone obeyed the rules and there were no fines, the ‘congestion charge zone’ would have been deemed a failure as it would not have been economically viable.]

I propose a far more effective way of dealing with these types of motoring offence. The issue of an immobilisation order, caught using a mobile when driving, then use it to call a cab home, because your losing your car for a month.
To save money, the car is driven to your home, parked in its usual place and clamped for the duration of the ban.
That way you can see it every day, your partner & family also see it, immobilised due to your bad behaviour.
I feel this would be far more effective than fining, and much more of a deterrent, you can always hire a car for the period, but this is going to cost way more than the proposed fine, thus adding to your ‘punishment’.

Member

As someone who has been to a “speed awareness” course, I have to say that they are woefully and embarrassingly out of date. I will always prefer one to 3 points but I really couldn’t believe some of the subject matter, like showing you the video of a car skidding and hitting a child (dummy) from about 1985.

Raising fines will do nothing, has making “using a mobile phone whilst driving” a specific offence decreased the numbers? Of course not.

It’s about enforcement as usual. Making up new numbers makes them look like they’re “being tough on xxxx” when in fact they’ve done absolutely nothing.

Member
FINSBURYPARKER says:
25 June 2012

I really couldn’t believe some of the subject matter, like showing you the video of a car skidding and hitting a child (dummy) from about 1985.
_______________________________

Check out that ‘Video’ again online, you will notice that the front wheels are locked and the resulting smoke from friction of the tyre and tarmac.

Now, check out the rear wheels in the video, they are still turning,….Defective brakes?… The foot brake applies equal pressure to front and rear brakes, and further, in this day and age, ABS would stop the front & rear brakes from locking up, therefore, no smoking front or rear brakes!

Member

My point exactly

Member

The best way to make people drive safely and sensibly is too make it too expensive and painful if caught driving badly. Caught using your mobile, you lose it and the sim card, no transferring anything of it. Caught speeding or no tax/insurance etc you lose your car, and no taking your belongings out of it. The police are then free to auction of the best stuff to help pay for more bobbies on the beat. There’s no point issuing a fine as persistent avoiders will simply ignore it and any reminders. And we all know points just make prizes.

Even for someone who is unemployed and not getting benefits even the though of paying a £100 fine would have very little effect on my driving. Whereas the stiff taking to I got from Mr Plod several years ago, did work.

FYI never had a point on my licence in over 30 years.

Member

The car is easy to take as you don’t actually own it, you are the keeper. This is why the police can immediately take possession of your car when caught driving without a license or insurance, and other parties can remove if left on the road untaxed, and why they can crush [destroy] it without paying compensation.
The seizing of your phone and personal items would be more problematic, as the police need a court order and have to show that your possessions are gained via the proceeds of a criminal act.

Member

I think you miss the point. Losing the phone and contents should be a new part of the “fine” and have nothing to do with how you acquired them. It’s all about making it not worth the point of breaking the law as the current fines are so low as to be pointless. And if nothing else if it reduces the amount of stuff people carry in their cars, maybe that would reduce theft from car crimes as well.

Member

@William, no I see where you are going with this, and certainly the threat of taking just the sim card away, would frighten the socks of most people, let alone the stuff in the car.
But there would need to be a dramatic change in law to allow them to do this.
Scenario: Psycho the banker is driving his new Porcshe down Brompton rd. [of course laws don’t apply to him] boasting about his latest stock market killing to a mate on his mobile, he is spotted, pulled over and his phone, sim, car and contents [including his laptop] are seized.
This chap has the funds to go all the way to the European courts with this, and probably hire Cherie Blair to boot. I feel the legal ramifications would be horrendous, and the costs prohibitive.

We need a happy medium, a harsh punishment for this stupid offence that will act as a deterrent to the majority, but it has to both workable and enforceable.
The harshest penalty we know, the death penalty, does not prevent murder. Fines do not prevent people offending. I would bet that if we hung people for using a mobile whilst driving, we would have to execute a few dozen every year.

Member