TRADES people and van operators need to ensure drivers are aware of the new fixed-penalty regime for careless driving offences, introduced on 16 August.
Middle-lane hogging and tailgating now attract an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three licence penalty points.
Guidelines are needed to remove the risk of summary justice
And drivers nabbed while using a mobile phone at the wheel or not wearing a seatbelt face an increase in fines from £60 to £100.
But while the changes give the police greater flexibility in dealing with ‘less serious’ careless driving offences, freeing them from resource-intensive court processes, the Freight Transport Association has called for national guidelines on applying the new penalties to avoid a ‘postcode lottery’ in punishment.
FTA members broadly support the establishment of careless driving as a fixed-penalty offence but the association believes an overarching strategy is needed to provide guidance on the standard of evidence required, to ensure the same judgements are applied across throughout the UK.
FTA director of policy and communications James Hookham told Business Vans: “The FTA is asking that national guidelines are issued to remove the risk of ‘summary justice’ being applied to generally subjective offences such as tailgating and being in the wrong lane, to avoid the postcode lottery of some offences being interpreted differently by different police forces.”
Under the changes, most motoring fixed penalties offences fines have increased:
- Non-endorsable (where the driver does not receive points on his or her licence) £30 fixed penalty notices have risen to £50
- Endorsable (where points are given) £60 and non-endorsable fixed-penalty notices have risen to £100
- Endorsable £120 fixed-penalty notices have risen to £200
- The fixed-penalty notice for driving with no insurance has increased from £200 to £300.