Are new fixed penalties a good idea?

* Reaction to careless driving fixed penalties * Are there enough police to enforce them? * Will they make our roads safer?...

Author Avatar
What Car? Staff
11 May 2011

Are new fixed penalties a good idea?

The Government has revealed plans to issue on-the-spot fines for careless drivers. It says the introduction of more fixed penalty notices will free up police time and ensure more dangerous drivers are punished. Is the Government right? Here are the reactions from various interested organisations. You can also tell us what you think.

The AA
Andrew Howard, the AA's head of road safety, said: 'When you have one of the best records in the world as we do, you don't go looking to the worst countries to see how they do things. You have to be a bit innovative and hopefully that is what we have here.

'I don't know whether we are being too trusting, but something had to be done about bad behaviour. We expect there to be guidelines and that aggressive and bad behaviour is targeted, not motorists who are lost or in the wrong lane.'

The Association of Chief Police Officers
Chief Constable Phil Gormley, ACPO lead for Roads Policing said: 'ACPO roads policing portfolio welcomes this important document from the Department for Transport. The proposals outlined will help us build on the significant reduction in the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads that has been achieved over recent years, by increasing road safety.

'The raft of measures it has introduced is far reaching and innovative. The addition of the alternative option of issuing fixed penalty notices for careless driving offences allows operational officers to effectively deal with lower level careless and anti-social driving in a proportionate and efficient way, enabling them to spend more time on high visibility patrols. This will allow us to target the type of driving that causes frustration to a vast majority of the motoring public.

'We look forward to working with all involved to develop the proposals outlined, maintaining our place as a world leader in road safety.'

The Institute of Advanced Motorists
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: 'We welcome the proposal to give novice drivers extra training. Many young drivers crash simply because they have insufficient driving experience. Extra training with in-depth coaching and more hours behind the wheel will prevent accidents and save lives. We will work with the Government and the insurance industry to make this new approach a reality.

'A strategy that punishes deliberate bad driving while allowing those who make simple human errors to improve has our full support, but we are concerned that issuing spot fines for careless driving could downgrade the offence. We will be monitoring the impact carefully.'

The Police Federation
Waiting for police response.

The RAC Foundation
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: 'This report certainly addresses anti-social behaviour on the roads but it is questionable whether it tackles the key areas that cause injury and death.

'Either way, the three things needed to make these plans work are enforcement, enforcement, enforcement. With police services being cut it is far from certain the desired results can be achieved. Without adequate enforcement there is no strategy.'

What do you think?
What do you think of the idea of police handing out on-the-spot fines for careless driving? E-mail []( the spot fines) and let us know.