Commercial vehicle drivers face larger fines from today, with careless driving now punishable with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) and graduated fixed penalties (GFP) for offences such as breaking drivers’ hours increased.
Described by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) as the largest change in traffic policing policy in decades, the move to make careless driving an offence punishable by FPN attracted plenty of headlines earlier this summer with the mainstream press emphasising £100 fines for middle-lane hoggers on the motorway.
Other examples of careless driving include:
• overtaking on the inside;
• driving inappropriately close to another vehicle;
• inadvertently driving through a red light;
• emerging from a side road into the path of another vehicle;
• tuning a car radio; when the driver was avoidably distracted by this action;
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “If the police target the worst and most persistent offenders this could be good news for road safety. If, however, it just becomes another numbers game with thousands of careless driving tickets issued then the impact will be limited.”
Road Haulage Association chief executive Geoff Dunning said: ”Instances of tailgating and lane hogging have become common practices on our roads; particularly on motorways where speed limits are higher.
“As far as the road haulage sector is concerned, the fact remains that many car drivers are completely unaware that heavy goods vehicles are not allowed to use the motorway outside lane; this in itself can often be a key cause of frustration which can frequently result in poor driving practices.”
Existing FPNs also rise with, for example, use of a mobile phone now attracting a £100 fine.
Meanwhile GFPs, which can be applicable in cases of vehicle overloading see a near doubling in some cases with a £30 non-endorsable fine increased to £50 and a £60 endorsable and non-endorsable up to £100.
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,” he added.
For a full guide to the changes and the increases to GFPs read our careless diving and fixed penalty notices explained.