The Government is due to set out a new penalty regime to hit law-breaking drivers hard in the pocket. Fines of up to £10,000 may be on the cards for offences such as drink-driving, or driving with defective tyres or brakes, which are all deemed as ‘level 4’ offences.
Any ‘level 3’ offences, such as ignoring red traffic lights, or using a mobile phone whilst driving, could also warrant an increase in fines of up to £4000 – up from the current amount of £1,000.
Justice Minister Jeremy Wright advised that these changes would provide magistrates with “greater powers” needed to punish offenders. He said, “Magistrates are the cornerstone of our justice system and these changes will provide them with greater powers to deal with the day-today offences that impact their local communities.”
Motoring groups, however, have criticised the changes.
Rupert Lipton, Director of the National Motorists Action Group, advised that he felt the move was “disproportionate and draconian.”
Edmund King, President of the AA, also added, “We wouldn’t condone excessive speeding, … but fines have to be proportionate to the offence.”
“One has to question whether increasing the fines four-fold is proportionate and it probably isn’t.”
The Government is obviously keen to increase motorists’ fines. However, there appears to be limited progress in improving road safety awareness, as a further way of tackling the problem.
Pete Williams, Head of External Affairs at RAC, commented “What we’re seeing is an ever-increasing level of fines and penalties for motorists coming out of Whitehall with little to no improvement in how these are enforced. Many motorists who do speed don’t think they will get caught despite the already significant fines. When will we hear the Government is investing in better road safety awareness campaigns and police on the roads, rather than just doing out what looks like revenue-boosting punishment?”
I guess the message here folks, is kill your speed, or else you may end up with some seriously nasty fines in the future!