£60 fine and three points on licence for minor accidents

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Satch, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. Satch

    Satch Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    God it never ends!

    Thousands of drivers who would have escaped prosecution for collisions after simply swapping insurance details will now face likely prosecution as soon as the police become involved.

    An array of trivial motoring offences in addition to minor crashes are also likely to lead to action under proposals to give police powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving.

    They could include eating, drinking or smoking at the wheel, reading a map, tuning a radio or arguing with a passenger.

    All funds raised from the on-the-spot fines will go directly to the Treasury, which already makes more than £100 million a year from speed cameras.

    The proposals triggered fears of a surge in the number of drivers being prosecuted, as happened following the introduction of speed cameras.

    There were 260,000 people convicted of speeding offences in 2000-01 when speed cameras were in their infancy but by 2006-07, after they had been rolled out nationwide, this figure had reached 1.75 million.

    They are contained in a Department for Transport consultation paper, which raises concerns that a sharp decline in the number of convictions for careless driving may be due to the amount of paperwork involved in the police bringing prosecutions.

    "This would suggest that there are careless drivers who are currently 'getting away with it'," the document states.

    Some also warned that the new system would see motorists will fall foul of police officers under pressure to prove they are cost-effective and meet targets.

    "Cops aren't daft," said Kevin Delaney, Scotland Yard's former head of traffic. "They are human like the rest of us and will take the easiest option.

    "The easier you make it for them to meet performance targets by issuing tickets, the more likely they are to do it."

    Critics fear that making it easier for careless driving prosecutions to take place will simply mean that the Treasury will cash in from the sharp rise in income from fines.

    "This smacks of trying to make a fast buck out of already heavily taxed drivers," said a spokesman for the TaxPayersAlliance.

    "Obviously dangerous driving should still be penalised. Ordinary families are struggling with the credit crunch, trying to get more money from them is wrong."

    The plans were described as a "bombshell" by Rob Gifford, director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, and normally sympathetic to the Government's strategy. "This could lead to policing by numbers rather than policing aimed at raising standards," he said.

    At present police can only prosecute motorists for careless driving through the courts. Most of those taken to court plead guilty and are penalised with points on their licence and a fine.

    But the Government has been alarmed by the fall in the number of convictions for poor driving.

    In 1986 there were 107,600 motorists convicted of careless driving but by 2006 this had fallen by more than 75 per cent to only 25,400.

    "The level of enforcement is steadily dropping," the Government noted in the consultation paper.

    This, it is believed, has resulted in an increasing number of cases of careless driving going unpunished.

    Ministers believe that this is because of the burden of paperwork police have to deal with in bringing a careless driving case to court.

    The Government believes that a simpler process – bringing careless driving into line with the prosecution of speeding – would "increase the chances of enforcement action being taken against demonstrably bad driving."

    Such a move could add to the burden on motorists, many of whom have backed the Daily Telegraph's Fair Deal for Drivers campaign against plans to impose "green taxes" on the owners of "environmentally unfriendly" cars.

    Few dispute the need to pursue blatantly bad driving, but there are fears that the new system could lower the prosecution threshold because of the ease with which fixed penalty notices can be handed out.

    Motorists are expected to comply with The Highway Code and failure to do so can be construed as careless driving.

    It is this which could lead to prosecutions for fiddling with the radio, listening to loud music or swigging a bottle of water.

    Similarly tens of thousands of minor accidents are normally settled by drivers swapping insurance details, even if the police are called to the scene.

    Now, it is feared, officers will be expected to issue a fixed penalty notice to the driver deemed to have been at fault.

    Insurers paid out on 1.7 million road accidents last year, the majority of which were regarded as minor.

    "We would like to know more about how the new system will be used, especially after minor accidents," said Andrew Howard, the AA's head of road safety.

    "Penalties should reflect how bad the driving was, not whether or not a police officer attends the scene."

    There are also fears that the offence of careless driving could be devalued by the introduction almost automated system.

    Mr Delaney, who is also head of road safety at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, warned it would remove the stigma of a court appearance for bad driving.

    But the Department for Transport defended the plans in the consultation.

    "Bad driving puts other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians at risk and is rated by the public as the second most important road safety issue for the Government to tackle," a spokesman said.

    "Making careless driving a fixed penalty offence will help the police to enforce against bad drivers who admit fault with a minimum of bureaucracy, freeing up police resources.

    "But all drivers will always have the option to contest their case in court and we will work with the police to develop guidance to ensure that cases are handled correctly."


    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring...ee-points-on-licence-for-minor-accidents.html
     
  2. Howard

    Howard MB Club Veteran

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    Sounds like the Treasury and the solicitors are the only benefactors from this ..

    How will the police hand out FPN's at the scene ? it's not immediately obvious who was at fault ? will every policeman be a trained accident investigator able to decide in a couple of minutes what went on ?

    Just as an example , the accident that led to my CLK being written off would have been a case in point ...

    I was rammed from behind , so the driver who hit me was in the wrong , but then i was pushed into the car in front , so technically i hit him ... i certainly wouldn't be paying any fine for this i can tell you ...

    This is going to clog up the court system as well , because everyone is going to want to contest it ....
     
  3. fuzzer

    fuzzer MB Club Veteran

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    The other point is , if the police are playing judge and jury at the scene of the accident , how till this affect the insurance claims process? I was under the impression of not admiting liability and letting the insurers battle it out.
     
  4. Benzowner

    Benzowner Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Technically you maybe considered at fault for stopping too close to the car in front, after all, they will be claiming from you. But I agree, it does seem a bit OTT and will clog the system up even more.
     
  5. Howard

    Howard MB Club Veteran

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    No , this has been discussed before ....

    I was stationary , i was hit from behind at 40 mph , and was shoved with 2 other cars for nearly 70 feet with my foot hard on the brake . 3 cars were written off in the accident such was the force involved ...

    What should i do , stop at the roundabout before this one and allow the whole road to be clear for 2 miles before proceeding ?

    In the end we all claimed off the chap who hit me
     
  6. popuptoaster

    popuptoaster Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Good, im bloody glad about this, i've been clumped several times by people not taking any notice of their surroundings or seemingly having no ability to drive and everytime without fail they seem suprised when im upset about my old car having been damaged, its not like i can just go buy a new wing or bumper like they can either.

    Anything that makes idiots drive more carefully or that will punish them pleases me.
     
  7. Howard

    Howard MB Club Veteran

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    But what if they decide that the popuptoaster was at fault ? ( even if you weren't ) and you get a FPN for your troubles ? what gives the PO-lice the right to do that at the roadside ?

    Never make any mistakes yourself ?
     
  8. st13phil

    st13phil MB Club Veteran

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    All motor insurance advises (requires?) that you never admit liability for a shunt. So both parties will deny it was them that caused it. If Plod is not to be tied up with the niceties of actually investigating the matter thoroughly - too time consuming - the most expedient solution is that both parties will be issued with FPN's. That's £120 tax collected, and two drivers with a quarter of their licence gone. Luvvly-jubbly.

    As usual with almost anything to do with motoring law in the UK today the "problem" is misidentified and a half-baked and irrelevant "solution" is put in place to contain it. Morons.
     
  9. Brian WH

    Brian WH MB Club Veteran

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    Mind you, maybe we needn't worry, because the police are only interested in attending if someone is hurt, or maybe if the road is blocked. You will be lucky if they turn up at all.:D
     
  10. neilrr

    neilrr MB Club Veteran

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    Was this written by that well known journo Phil Space?
     
  11. UnMarked

    UnMarked Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    You miss the point here - the Po-lice won't be dishing out FPN's 'willy-nilly' as you and several others seem to think. And neither is it about 'targets' or 'figures'; if there is a case of careless driving to answer then it should be answered. At present cases are dealt with via summons which is time-consuming and clogging up the courts. FPN alternatives don't make the police judge, jury and executioner as you clearly feel. Remember FPN's are an alternative to court and if you feel aggrieved or wronged then elect to go to court instead.

    BTW Howard, on the case of your collision I really don't think you would have even been considered as being to fault - the lad who went up your backside should have been the one getting the points not you.
     
  12. Howard

    Howard MB Club Veteran

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    ' Now, it is feared, officers will be expected to issue a fixed penalty notice to the driver deemed to have been at fault. '

    Obviously not gospel , but you can see where it will go ...

    Figures have dropped , the Gov wants these figures back up , isn't that a target ?

    By the way , police has a capital P and O ;) Just like in America ...

    ' Da PO-lice !!
     
  13. UnMarked

    UnMarked Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Do you have any idea just how any 'minor' RTC's there are in any given area on one day? Probably far more than you realise. Remember that police resources are finite but they will atend non-injury collisions if they are not committed and as such will deal with any traffic offences as a result. It's about prioritising and non-injury RTC's fall below injury ones as a priority and i'm sure you'd agree that's how it should be.
     
  14. st13phil

    st13phil MB Club Veteran

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    That's the theory. In practice (let's use the example of speeding FPN's) the process of challenge is made deliberately arduous, and the eventual penalty is raised if anyone has the temerity to challenge it and loses the case. Oh, and the Magistrates are increasingly taking the view that anyone who challenges an FPN is a time-waster that was guilty anyway before the case is heard. Other than that, the police don't act as judge, jury and executioner when they issue a FPN.

    BTW, this is not a comment on the Police, but rather the deliberately biased process that they are required to enact.
     
  15. x332race

    x332race Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    An array of trivial motoring offences in addition to minor crashes are also likely to lead to action under proposals to give police powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving.

    They could include eating, drinking or smoking at the wheel, reading a map, tuning a radio or arguing with a passenger.


    And how are they going to police this then....officer issues FPN saying you were doing one of these activities....its basically his word agains yours...they can't even police the laws they do have effectivly...look at the mobile phone law....I see any number of people each day driving with a phone clamped to their ear, and they never get caught.

    I was being followed by a police car the other day when the car in front of me did soemthing stupid, meaning I had to take evasive action (no contact)....were the police interested, no, they just ignored the poor behaviour and drove on.
     
  16. crockers

    crockers MB Club Veteran

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    Possibly they weren't interested BUT you don't know where they were heading.....they may be off to sit waiting for a drug bust or going for donuts..:D
     
  17. popuptoaster

    popuptoaster Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I do make mistakes the same as everyone else, but if your aware of things around you and have a proper knowledge of the size of your car and how it reacts to things then you should always be in the postion that a mistake will not cause an accident.

    This is the point of not following to closely or trying to pull out of a junction in a hurry, try a lil test on someone next time your out with them and they are driving, ask em if they can tell you what colour the car behind them is without looking in a mirror, or what the last road sign they passed was, i reckon 90% of people wont be able to which just shows how little notice of things they take and yet your trusting them to keep you safe.
     
  18. 3 phase

    3 phase Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Good point, It's something you have to do on an I.A.M. test, I've tried the same on drivers I've been with, no one has ever got it right.
     
  19. popuptoaster

    popuptoaster Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Back in my youth (i have grown up now and do not condone this) i drove a lot with no insurance and illegal cars, i paid for it with a prison sentance which taught me lesson, but the other thing that came out of it was gaining a real sense of knowing where everyone else is on the road, you need to keep an eye out for the police, even in their own private cars as the local ones soon got to know me and what i was driving about in, the last thing you want as an illegal driver is having someone else crash into you, even if its their fault your gonna be in trouble, annoyingly i crashed far less than my mates who were legal simply because i was frightend of getting caught and was more carefull, still a 5 month sentance, 5 year ban and 142 points on my license learned me a lesson and my lisence has been clean ever since.
     
  20. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    Jackpot..!!:D
     

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