The department has today (14 June 2012) published a consultation paper on changes to the treatment of penalties for careless driving and other motoring offences. This follows up key commitments from the government’s ‘Strategic framework for road safety’ published in May 2011.
With careless driving, the current enforcement process is time consuming and inefficient. We are therefore proposing to make careless driving a fixed penalty offence and open to the offer of education training. We believe this will help the police to enforce against this offence more efficiently. It will also provide greater flexibility in dealing with those low level careless driving behaviours that fall below the threshold for a court summons, enabling the greater use of educational training.
We will also be consulting on raising the level of many motoring fixed penalty notices (FPN), including increasing the penalty levels for many (usually endorsable) road traffic £60 FPN offences to £90. We have broadened the scope of the measure and are consulting on other options including, increasing the levels for non-endorsable offences, motor insurance offences, and graduated fixed penalties - all by a similar proportion.
Most of these penalty levels have not been increased since 2000 and are lower than other fixed penalties such as for disorder. This risks offences being perceived as minor infringements. In addition, increasing penalty levels will encourage the introduction of educational courses for other offences, such as, not wearing a seat belt and the proposed careless driving fixed penalty.
There are no proposals to make any changes to penalty levels for parking restriction FPN offences.
These measures will play an important role in improving road safety for all road users as well as maintaining compliance with motoring laws.
The consultation documents can be found on the department’s website. An electronic copy has been lodged with the House library.