Most drivers support much higher penalties for driving offences

Up to £1000 fines for careless driving or talking on a mobile at the wheel?

by Sarah Barth   September 20, 2012  

red traffic light.jpg

The vast majority of drivers want to see much higher fines and tougher enforcement for driving offences including using a mobile phone at the wheel and driving carelessly. 

We reported on recent government proposals that suggested an increase in Fixed Penalty Notice fines to £90. 

But figures from the charity Brake and Direct Line suggest almost eight out of ten people are in favour of fines of £200, and half of respondents would support fines as heavy as £500.

What's more, drivers are sceptical of dangerous motorists who are allowed to retain their cars despite repeated criminal driving. More than three in four think it's wrong that some drivers who rack up 12 points are allowed to dodge a ban under an 'exceptional hardship' clause.

These can include needing a car for work or childcare reasons.

Brake is calling for an end to these loopholes, as well as an increase in the level of fixed penalty fines for traffic offences to £around £1,000, to reflect the seriousness of the crime.

Ellen Booth, Brake senior campaigns officer, said: "The government must listen to the public, who recognise that far tougher penalties are needed to stop risky, selfish behaviour at the wheel and that we need to take dangerous repeat offenders off the roads.

"The government has proposed increasing fixed penalty fines for driving offences to a paltry £90: we say this is nowhere near enough, and drivers agree.

"We need far higher fines in line with the fact these offences pose a threat to human life, and all too often lead to tragedy. We also need to ensure our penalty points system is working, and drivers who repeatedly flout the law aren't being allowed to keep their licence.

"We need a simple, clear message from government: drivers who risk lives won't be tolerated and should expect to pay a high price."

10 user comments

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The exceptional hardship rules have been bent severely by some motorists. These include a well-known footballer who claimed his team would face relegation should he suffer a ban or a series of politicians who said they were unable to use public transport.

The fact is, research shows using a mobile phone wile driving is more risky than just being over the limit for alcohol but there is no parity in the fines or sentence. The system has to be evened out. Being caught using a phone at the wheel should result in a 12 month ban, while texting or using the Internet should involve still higher penalties.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
21st September 2012 - 8:33

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All good, and I specifically agree with Old Ridgeback's final comment...

But how much coverage is this survey getting in the tabloids, which love to bleat about the "war on the motorist"?

posted by JonSP [50 posts]
21st September 2012 - 9:31

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"fixed penalty fines for traffic offences to around £1,000" - god yes, if it saves lives of course it should be this much and much more imo, talking on mobiles whilst driving should be five times that.

posted by Karbon Kev [667 posts]
21st September 2012 - 9:32

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I'm not against higher fines per se, but you reach a point where people simply can't pay and you have to chase them/bring in baliffs and it gets to the point where actually trying to enforce the fine costs more than the fine.
There's the other issue of who is actually enforcing it in the first place. Judging from the number of motorists I regularly see jumping lights, talking/texting on phones there isn't anyone there to catch them in the first place - never mind how high the fine is!

posted by crazy-legs [489 posts]
21st September 2012 - 9:58

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Any chance of some enforcement?

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
21st September 2012 - 10:00

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In other news; 8 out of 10 drivers surveyed rated their driving ability as "Above Average"...

Everyone's in favour of bigger fines for all the other dangerous drivers but it suddenly becomes unfair once they are on the receiving of one.

posted by Mr Will [88 posts]
21st September 2012 - 10:29

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crazy-legs wrote:
I'm not against higher fines per se, but you reach a point where people simply can't pay and you have to chase them/bring in baliffs and it gets to the point where actually trying to enforce the fine costs more than the fine.

The point of the fine is to attempt to correct their behavior, not to make money.

posted by FatFreddie [14 posts]
21st September 2012 - 11:47

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Coleman wrote:
Any chance of some enforcement?

You'd like to think so but after being told by CoL "police officer" they won't go after drivers, only cycling offences, don't hold your breath.

Police are only interested in easy money nowadays, not actual policing.

posted by southstar [11 posts]
21st September 2012 - 16:14

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Perhaps if the police were to confiscate the drivers phone for say a minimum of one week or until the fine is paid this would probably be more effective than the fine and points.

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [572 posts]
24th September 2012 - 17:03

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Rather than points, short bans (with no hardship clauses)would be more effective.
Making them take other transport (or be driven) for a month might focus their mind better.

posted by thereverent [297 posts]
24th September 2012 - 17:21

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