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Fines for bad driving set to rise for first time in 11 years

Current fines "risk trivialising" speeding, driving while using a mobile & other offences...

Speeding motorists and those caught driving while using a mobile phone face increased fines in proposals contained in the Government's new Strategic Frameworkd for Road Safety.

Ministers argue that the current level of fines, attached to motoring fixed penalty notices, set back in 2000, has fallen behind those attached to offences attached to other areas such as disorder – this the Strategic Framework says risks trivialising motoring offences. To bring motoring offences in to line the Government will increase the fixed penalty fine payable for speeding, failing to control a vehicle properly – which covers driving while using a mobile phone, failing to stop at a zebra crossing, and not wearing a seat belt from the current level of £60 to between £80 and £100.

On current levels of offending it has been calculated that the increase in speeding fines alone would raise an extra £35m in revenue - fines for other motoring offences are also likely to rise. However the Government has said it also has to bear in mind when setting fixed penalty levels, the likelihood that setting them too high will increase levels of non-payment – although there is an argument that it is exactly those who fail to pay such fines who should be the focus of the Government's new 'targeted approach' to enforcement and deterence when it comes to pursuing rogue drivers. As well as fines the Strategic Framework proposes increased use of educational programmes for erring drivers.

Some further details have also emerged regarding the new powers that will be giving to police regarding issuing fixed penalties for careless and inconsiderate driving. Initially the police will use video evidence shot from their in car cameras to back up such fines if it is deemed good enough to be used in court, but it is envisaged that evidence from road side cameras once they have been approved by the Home Office.

The emphasis on the quality of footage does open up the possibility that cyclists could submit headcam footage to the police to at least get them to issue fixed penalty notices in cases where they are the victims of inconsiderate driving. headcam evidence has already been deemed admissible in court and led to at least one successful prosecution. A scenario where camera toting cyclists not only helped boost government revenues but also helped buy all cyclist more space and respect on the road. However, given that the Strategic Framework barely mentions cycling, one reference we could find in 75 pages - cycling will first need to sort out its visibility problem with the Government.

Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.

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