Careless Driver

On-the-spot fines for careless drivers

Motorists are to be hit with on-the-spot fines of between £80 and £100 for careless driving as part of a major package of road safety laws being portrayed as a break from the previous government's supposed reliance on speed cameras.

The fixed penalty notices have been designed with a view to clamping down on "boy racers", who drive aggressively by tailgating, undertaking or cutting up fellow motorists, along with other offenders such as repeat law-breakers and those who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Ordinary motorists should not fear the tough new penalties, the government will insist in its overall road safety strategy – the Strategic Framework for Road Safety.

The transport secretary said

"We want to make a clear distinction between those drivers who are a real danger to road safety – reckless, dangerous drivers – and those who are merely occasionally careless or who make an honest mistake,"

"That means much more emphasis on enforcement against those who represent the biggest risk and a big increase in the use of education for those who make minor transgressions."

Additional measures in the package include retests for disqualified offenders before they regain their licence, an end to the right to request blood tests rather than breath tests for drink-driving, seizures of vehicles belonging to the most dangerous offenders, a post-test qualification for new drivers to encourage lower insurance premiums and the offer of educational courses instead of points on a licence for minor offences.

Other elements will revolve around a new crackdown on driving while under the influence of drugs, an increase in the range of educational courses for lower level offence and the abolition of loopholes that allow drink drivers to get off without charge.

The current Pass Plus scheme for novice drivers will also be replaced with a new qualification – including an assessment – in an attempt to encourage insurers to lower premiums.