/ 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

@m, I can’t fault you reasoning there.

Do you think it would be that hard to change the law about taking phones and cars then ?

Member

I think the point he was making was that by making fines so expensive, it effectively becomes a rich persons plaything.

For example, hiring a car in many European countries, you can drive through most speed cameras and just receive a fine, no points, yet in Switzerland, the fine is much much larger.

Do you see a pattern here?

Member
FINSBURYPARKER says:
25 June 2012

With the reduction in policing, plus the enormous amount of increased traffic, the chances of collaring those that use mobile phones is negligible.

They can’t even stop Cyclists riding on the pavement, jumping red lights etc.

What is needed in the Technical age is a device installed in the car that will not allow a person to transmit from a car, just receive a test that someone is trying to contact them.

This device will prevent them from responding from within the car, they will have to stop, get out and reply to the text.

Your thoughts on this,….Possibly I have forgotten something,…The Devil is always in the detail!

Member

@William,
changing the law is the easy part, it’s been able to enforce it and then defend it when our European ‘partners’ object.

Member
Phil says:
19 June 2012

I believe the fine has been £60 since 2000 so maybe it’s high time it was raised. According to an inflation calculator the equivalent today is £81 so £90 really isn’t much of a hike, certainly £60 wouldn’t act as much of a deterrent to many people, it costs more to fill the average car with fuel. The real cost of breaking the law comes with years of increased insurance premiums.

Member

Very true, although anyone caught and fined for not having car insurance is very unlikely to care about the increased premiums for a policy he/she won’t be taking out anyway. Hence my take the car and contents comment.

Member

This my one bug bear, the insurance companies are already taking the Michael out of us, with there mercenary pricing [see other Which threads ]. Get points on your license and they increase premiums and the insurance companies gain from your, far more than the fine you have paid the courts. I do not think this is right, which is why I would prefer a solution which will punish the offender without benefiting the insurers.

Member
Phil says:
19 June 2012

On the other hand I think it’s a much more effective deterrent than a £90 fine.

Member

I saw a police constable holding a mobile phone up to their head as they were driving the other day. Are they exempt from the law on this? Dreadful example to drivers as there are still far too many people drivng without full control of the vehicle. Police employees should face a double fine perhaps – once for committing the offence and twice for thinking they can get away with it!

Member

It is not only setting a bad example, but it does little to help maintain respect for the police. Like the rest of us, police drivers can and do make little mistakes like stopping in a box junction or forgetting to indicate where lane positioning makes intentions clear, but using a phone in a car is deliberate act.

It seems unlikely that a police car would be stopped by another police car. 🙂

Member

As the poor cashed strapped motorist is a cash cow for the government any plans to increase costs normally brings shock horror but not in this case! Fines should be increased for one good reason, government cuts have reduced the number of traffic police, (if you don’t believe me on a recent trip of 210 motorway miles (M20 M26 M25 M4) I saw ONE police car) hence the fines they would have levied with speed cameras etc have not gone into the coffers. Drivers know there’s a very small chance of being caught using a mobile on the move, driving without due care and attention and possible the worst is the fact that motorists seem to think the urban speed limit of 30mph means 40mph! It’s mooted that when the motorway speed limit is raised to 80mph that speed will be rigorously enforced, how, when so many drivers exceed 80mph anyway and get away with it! Overseas drivers regularly think they’re back home by driving at 90+ and get away with it subsequently losing thousands of cash for the treasury. My solution is simple, use speed cameras on the motorways more dishing out the appropriate fixed penalty fine + 3 to 6 points in relation to the speed up to 100mph and take the matter to court for those over. Overseas drivers should be stopped at the port of exit and made to pay up before they are allowed to leave.NB, my car will achieve 70mpg at 60, 65mpg at 65 and 60mpg at 70 (4mpg less with aircon on) so it goes to say I drive to achieve economy saving me money, a little bit for the environment and no fines!

Member

They tried speed cameras on the motorway [M2 I think]
The result, drivers did as they do in town, bunny hopped. The difference is doing it at speeds of between 70 & 100 MPH meant an increase in accidents, so the cameras were removed for safety reasons.
As always it’s not the offender who is injured or killed, it’s the innocent 3rd party.
Average speed cameras may be the answer, the instillation of these types of camera will stop bunny hopping and force drivers to continually monitor their speed. I would like to see an annoying audible alarm [buzzer, bell, donger] which trips if you go over 70MPH, try telling the police you dident realise you were speeding then.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008, what car did a report about trailing average speed cameras on the motor way.

Article from Techradar Jan 2010.
Average speed cameras could be installed on all UK motorways if a government-backed group gets its way.

The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) has stated that the cameras, currently only used for roadwork traffic management, would provide significant environmental benefits.

Not only would they apparently keep drivers at a lower speed, thus burning less fuel, they would also replace the current speed traps, which encourage heavy braking and accelerating when used.

Member

@FINSBURYPARKER
have you taken a look at this thread yet.
Are drivers still flouting the law by using their mobiles?
Some posts are right in line with your thinking on this.

Member
FINSBURYPARKER says:
25 June 2012

‘Have you taken a look at this thread yet.
Are drivers still flouting the law by using their mobiles?
Some posts are right in line with your thinking on this
______________________________

Put the U.R.L on your next post and will.

Regards,

finsburyparker

Member
Member
FINSBURYPARKER says:
25 June 2012

Hi ‘M’,

Checked out your U.R.L, the main thrust of the posts is ‘Enforcement’.

It will never happen, take too many Police on the ground.

How about cameras of a type that can take photos of people using their mobiles with a shot of the No: plate time and date, that can be done by Civilian Staff at remote centres!

What a surprise they will get, a fine through the post, points on their licence, accompanied with a photo and the date of the offence,….Or maybe that’s a bit too draconian,….We seem to have too many TV cameras already.

Your thoughts ‘M’!

Member

The thing with TV cameras may work as traffic is continually monitored anyway, we have smart camera recognition technology, so any thing appearing to be a phone held to the face would be triggered for scrutiny by human eyes, but this would not pick up those devious idiots who text with the phone in their lap.

I am in favour of the local field generator idea, which would stop all phone calls & texts from mobiles within the car, there would be 1 emergency no, which would be allowed through [just in case] with severe penalties for misuse.

Another idea would be an in car reader which would recognise a phone signal emanating from the car, so if the phone is in use it triggers an alert centre, which cuts into the call with a pre-recorded message telling you it is illegal to use the phone in a moving vehicle [engine on], and advises you to ‘end the is call immediately or be fined £xxx. The bueaty of this is that if the call is not reddened, the fine can be sent directly to the phone as a text message.

Notice this would stop passengers from using mobiles as well [I just think passengers whittering away whilst you are driving is rude & distracting], might cause a problem with black cabs, but they could have hard wired phones in the passenger compartment.

Member
FINSBURYPARKER says:
27 June 2012

I am in favour of the local field generator idea, which would stop all phone calls & texts from mobiles within the car, there would be 1 emergency no, which would be allowed through [just in case] with severe penalties for misuse.

Another idea would be an in car reader which would recognise a phone signal emanating from the car, so if the phone is in use it triggers an alert centre, which cuts into the call with a pre-recorded message telling you it is illegal to use the phone in a moving vehicle [engine on], and advises you to ‘end the is call immediately or be fined £xxx. The beauty of this is that if the call is not reddened, the fine can be sent directly to the phone as a text message.

Notice this would stop passengers from using mobiles as well [I just think passengers wittering away whilst you are driving is rude & distracting], might cause a problem with black cabs, but they could have hard wired phones in the passenger compartment.
__________________________________________________________

Excellent post, I don’t s’pose we could extend that ‘Wittering’ bit to wives???….No? I thought I’d try it on!