Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Road Haulage Drivers Should Be Aware of New Penalties

Careless Driving Now a Fixed Penalty Offence as Fines Rise
Shipping News Feature

UK – Last Friday (August 16) saw the cost of careless or foolish driving rise, prompting the road safety charity, Brake, to issue a warning to all road users of the stern consequences for many transgressions which are viewed as minor by many. The statement is of particular relevance to road haulage operators and commercial vehicle drivers who depend on retaining their licences for a living and may see insurance costs rise steeply if penalised.

Police can now stop drivers and issue a ticket on the spot for risky driving such as tailgating or poor lane discipline. Drivers who commit the most serious ‘careless driving' offences will still face charges in court and much higher penalties. Fines for most fixed penalty notices for traffic offences such as speeding, mobile phone use and not wearing a seat belt rise from £60 to £100, while the fine for driving uninsured rises from £200 to £300. Fines for most traffic fixed penalty notices have not increased since 2000, making them much lower than penalties for many other serious offences.

Meanwhile Police can choose to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement for careless driving, as is already the case for other types of traffic offences, such as speeding, although we have seen no consistency in this regard and such training, when it is available, can prove expensive and of course may require time off from work to undertake it.

Brake has welcomed the new fixed penalty notice for careless driving and increase in fines, which it believes will help to send the message that risky driving and breaking traffic laws won't be tolerated. However the organisation continues to lobby the government to increase fines further, to between £500 and £1,000, to reflect the potentially deadly consequences of bad driving and encourage drivers to take their responsibility on roads seriously. Julie Townsend, Brake’s deputy chief executive, commented:

"Driving is the most dangerous thing most of us do on a daily basis, but sadly some drivers remain complacent about the risks and the law. Bad driving causes deaths and life-changing injuries that tear families apart and affect whole communities. All drivers have a responsibility to ensure they aren't putting others at risk, and are helping to prevent these needless casualties.

"They can do this by following simple principles, such as slowing down, giving the road their full attention, always belting up, and never driving impaired. We hope [these] changes will help to improve driver attitudes and behaviour. But we are concerned penalties still aren't nearly high enough to deter all bad drivers and reflect the potentially appalling consequences of bad driving."