New penalties for careless driving come into force
The recent changes in road policing legislation has revolutionised the manner in which some road traffic offences are dealt with.
From 16 August 2013, the police have the power to issue fixed penalty notices for careless or inconsiderate driving, which can include tailgating and poor lane discipline. The Department of Transport say that such changes will give the police greater flexibility in dealing with less serious careless driving offences freeing them from the resource intensive court processes.
There has also been an increase in the level of fixed penalties for motoring offences:
- A non-endorsable fixed penalty notice where the driver does not receive penalty points on their driving licence has risen from £30 to £50;
- An endorsable fixed penalty notice attracting penalty points has risen from £60 to £100; and
- An endorsable £120 fixed penalty notice has risen to £200.
Graduated fixed penalties which mainly apply to commercial goods and passenger carrying vehicles and include offences relating to driver’s hours and overloading have also been increased.
The police will now be able to issue fixed penalty notices attracting three penalty points and £100 fines for careless driving offences that would previously have gone to court. The change brings careless driving in to line with other motoring offences such as speeding.
Road users guilty of ‘less serious’ careless driving offences are likely to face a fixed penalty or they may be offered the opportunity to attend educational and remedial training as an alternative to endorsement. The most serious examples of careless driving will continue to be dealt with through the court process where offenders face the potential for larger fines, more points, disqualification, costs and victim surcharge.
Drivers will continue to have a right to opt for a court hearing if they wish to dispute a fixed penalty ticket. If you are thinking about opting for a court hearing or need general advice on fixed penalties please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Traffic Lawyers Team.