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

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."

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.