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Merseyside police commissioner backs new law to tackle tail-gating
4:03pm Monday 19th August 2013 in News
MERSEYSIDE’S police chief has welcomed new rules which target tail-gaters and lane-hoggers.
Police commissioner Jane Kennedy said the legislation giving police the power to issue on-the-spot fines will make roads and motorways safer places.
It comes as changes mean police officers can give fixed-penalty notices for careless driving.
The penalty will be £100 with three points on the driver's licence. The most serious examples will continue to go through court, where offenders may face higher penalties.
The police will also be able to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement. Drivers will still be able to appeal against any decision in court.
It is hoped that the changes will give police greater flexibility in dealing with less serious careless driving offences, freeing them from resource-intensive court processes.
And Ms Kennedy said the measures were important to increase safety.
She said: “These new penalties are a welcome step in helping to make our roads and motorways safer.
“There have already been 16 fatalities and more than 310 people seriously injured on the region’s roads this year. The type of careless and inconsiderate driving that is being targeted with these on-the-spot fines can and does lead to accidents. I welcome these measures.”
The level of fines for some existing offences, such as using a mobile phone while driving, will also rise from £60 to £100.
Various fines, for which drivers do not have their licence endorsed, rise from £30 to £50. These include offences such as not having an easily-seen car tax disc and failing to give way at a junction. Drivers who are caught not wearing a seatbelt will have to fork out £100 while the driving-without-insurance penalty rises from £200 to £300. The changes seem set to go down badly with motorists, with a recent poll of 3,000 drivers by Auto Trader showing that 60% reckoned the new careless-driving fines would make no impact on road safety. Also, an AA/Populus survey showed that 29% admitted to sticking in the middle lane of motorways.
Road safety minister Stephen Hammond said: "Careless driving puts innocent people's lives at risk. That is why we have made it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed-penalty notice for low-level offending rather than taking these offenders to court.
"We have also increased penalties for a range of driving offences to a level which reflects their seriousness and which will ensure that they are consistent with other similar penalty offences