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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 04:52 
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13356057

BBC News item wrote:
On-the-spot fines planned for careless driving
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Currently motorists who drive carelessly have to be prosecuted through the courts

Police will get powers to fine careless drivers on the spot, rather than taking them to court, as part of a government strategy to make Britain's roads safer.

Ministers say motorists who tail-gate, undertake or cut others up often go unpunished and that introducing instant penalties would be more efficient.

Offenders would get a fine of at least £80 and three points on their licence.

Critics say the approach - likely to be introduced in 2012 - is too simplistic as careless driving is not clear cut.
Drug crackdown

Currently motorists who have driven in a careless manner have to be prosecuted through the courts.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond will give a written statement to MPs on Wednesday explaining the new strategy for England, Scotland and Wales.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it would also include a crackdown on drug-driving and the closing of loopholes that allow people to escape drink-driving charges.

Disqualified drivers would have to undergo retraining, and possibly take another test, before they got their licence back.

Courts would be encouraged to make more use of their powers to seize vehicles for the most serious offences.

Ministers insist the new approach will try to target genuinely reckless motorists rather than those who normally follow the rules but make an inadvertent mistake.

There will be support for new drivers who need to hone their driving skills, and wider range of retraining and education courses for cases of less-serious offences.
'Greatest danger'

A DfT spokesman said: "The strategy will focus on cracking down on the really reckless drivers through more efficient enforcement.

"By giving the police the tools to deal with those who present the greatest danger to others we can make our roads even safer.

"While seeking to do everything possible to tackle the most dangerous drivers, the strategy will also help the responsible majority to improve their driving.

"This is the government's twin approach to improving road safety."

But the Institute of Advanced Motorists said on-the-spot fines were not necessarily the right approach for careless driving because, unlike speeding, cases were often not clear cut.

It also said their introduction could make police reluctant to enter into lengthy prosecutions even in more serious cases.


I can see a few pitfalls here, with different opinions of what constitutes safe driving practice.

If the driver in front pulls away slowly, do you wait for a gap to open up, or pull away and let the gap open up slowly - or only if you think the police might be watching?

And IS undertaking illegal?
MLMs on motorways where lane 3 is busy should be fair game if they are forming a queue?

Quote:
Ministers insist the new approach will try to target genuinely reckless motorists rather than those who normally follow the rules but make an inadvertent mistake.

There will be support for new drivers who need to hone their driving skills, and wider range of retraining and education courses for cases of less-serious offences.

How will they differentiate? Who is reckless, and who is inexperienced?

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 07:48 
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Hmmm.

"...There will be support for new drivers who need to hone their driving skills..."

Excellent! Last copper I heard of that was doing that got to do double the speed limit! Maybe they'll provide a police escort for anyone wanting " :wink: hone their driving skills".

Anyway, I think I PROBABLY welcome the proposals on the whole, PROVIDED, there is some form of appeal system afterwards. We need some checks and balances. As for undertaking, well as long as they also pull MLMs in equal measure, I wouldn't be too averse to that! After all, for an undertaking manoeuvre to be succesful, you do need TWO particiapnts!


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 08:23 
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I don't know if it is slack BBC reporting or actually in the Minister's statement but:

Quote:
Police will get powers to fine careless drivers on the spot...


Quote:
A DfT spokesman said: "The strategy will focus on cracking down on the really reckless drivers through more efficient enforcement...


They are already confusing "careless" with "reckless". I have always equated reckless actions with the deliberately dangerous and not the unintentional error.

I am also a bit concerned at the potential fear that this will put in the heads of drivers because the police can just give you a fine and points "on a whim" with little room for appeal.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 09:56 
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I don't think the police being able to act as judge and jury for offences that are not strict liability is remotely a good idea - ultimately it all just boils down to the subjective opinion of a single police officer.

The report also doesn't say whether the police will be required to stop offenders at the time of the offence, or whether, as with speeding, they would send a fine in the post to the registered keeper, which would be extremely invidious and do nothing to improve driving standards.

Also it is likely that the police would concentrate on easy targets who would pay up like good little citizens rather than the genuinely dangerous and lawless drivers.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 10:45 
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BBC News here
Quote:
On-the-spot fines planned for careless driving
11 May 2011 Last updated at 02:52

Currently motorists who drive carelessly have to be prosecuted through the courts

Related Story : Police adopt new speed guidelines

Police will get powers to fine careless drivers on the spot, rather than taking them to court, as part of a government strategy to make Britain's roads safer.

Ministers say motorists who tail-gate, undertake or cut others up often go unpunished and that introducing instant penalties would be more efficient.
Offenders would get a fine of at least £80 and three points on their licence.

Critics say the approach - likely to be introduced in 2012 in England, Scotland and Wales - is too simplistic.
Currently motorists who have driven in a careless manner have to be prosecuted through the courts.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond will give a written statement to MPs on Wednesday explaining the new strategy for England, Scotland and Wales.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said it would also include a crackdown on drug-driving and the closing of loopholes that allow people to escape drink-driving charges.
Disqualified drivers would have to undergo retraining, and possibly take another test, before they got their licence back.
Courts would be encouraged to make more use of their powers to seize vehicles for the most serious offences.

Ministers insist the new approach will try to target genuinely reckless motorists rather than those who normally follow the rules but make an inadvertent mistake.
There will be support for new drivers who need to hone their driving skills, and wider range of retraining and education courses for cases of less-serious offences.

'Greatest danger'
A DfT spokesman said: "The strategy will focus on cracking down on the really reckless drivers through more efficient enforcement.
"By giving the police the tools to deal with those who present the greatest danger to others we can make our roads even safer.
"While seeking to do everything possible to tackle the most dangerous drivers, the strategy will also help the responsible majority to improve their driving.
"This is the government's twin approach to improving road safety."

But the Institute of Advanced Motorists said on-the-spot fines were not necessarily the right approach for careless driving because, unlike speeding, cases were often not clear-cut.
It also said their introduction could make police reluctant to enter into lengthy prosecutions even in more serious cases.
What if you can't afford it either all straight away or even at all ? For those that can easy pay it is less of a bother than the 3 points that will be added and so we all are at the mercy of a Policeman. Will this seal any chance of a respectful relationship between the Police and the public or will they learn to back down when things are unclear and genuinely only book those that have caused a problem. If they miss or mis-interpret a situation will they go after the 'easy pickings ' or the real cause of the problem ?
As Police have not been on the roads patrolling that much over the last decade, they need hours of re-training and educating for themselves first to 'learn' and appreciate the 'road-ways'.
I like the idea of more patrols to catch people but sometimes a tough talking down to and even a tug can be all that is needed. Adding the worry of an instant fine may mean that the Courts become busier as people cannot pay. The potential points may become increased as Police become encouraged to over penalise.
Where is the educate first punish when necessary ? It may cost to go to Court, unless you represent yourself (which the Courts are seeing more of) but does going to Court even remain an option or do you have to now be in a position of 'unable to pay' to get there ?
How much more stress will this dish out onto the roads?
Or is this fear to then encourage ever more courses to avoid points ?

(Post merged into existing topic - PeterE as moderator)

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 11:10 
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This policy may see an end to some "Knock for Knock" settlements if the police have attended and issued a fine! :whome:

I cannot see it working without more BiB on the roads, but the idea seems a basis of a useful policy change.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 12:16 
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PeterE wrote:
I don't think the police being able to act as judge and jury for offences that are not strict liability is remotely a good idea - ultimately it all just boils down to the subjective opinion of a single police officer.


I'd agree with that, I already don't hold our BIB in very high esteem, in fact I have come across some truly dreadful ones. The very worst being a time I was stopped while driving a motorcycle, it was by traffic officers in a marked car, the conversation went something like this ....

Me ... "Hello officer, why have you stopped me, is there a problem?"
Officer .... "Because you are driving a f***ing motorbike and the sooner these f***ing contraptions are all banned completely the better I'll like it"

It wasn't a joke, there was no "ha ha mate gotcha going there eh", he was serious!

Ok it was 25 years or so back, but can you imagine someone with that attidude being able to prosecute on the spot .... I shudder at the thought.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 13:51 
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See this on the DfT website:

Strategic Framework for Road Safety

Amongst other things, there's an interesting graph (Fig 2.6) showing differential rates of casualties per billion vehicle miles in different areas. The highest seem to be remote rural areas and inner cities, while the lowest is a broad swathe of "Middle England".

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 16:45 
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Why is the answer always to fine and hand out points?

Will we see fines being handed out for serious offences because it is easier than bringing it to court?

How about an on the spot for something minor that does not warrant a real charge because it is easy to hand out?

Copper being told they need to bring in some more revenue?

Perhaps I just do not trust the police to apply this fairly even though having them nab bad drivers is a good idea. A camera side effect possibly?

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 17:20 
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I might as well just hand my licence in now if they target undertaking.

There are so many MLMs, and right lane morons, it would be ridiculous not to undertake at times, so long as it's done safely.

I've never understood why It's illegal anyway. It's not a problem in America once you understand and accept it.

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You will be branded a threat to society by going over a speed limit where it is safe to do so, and suffer the consequences of your actions in a way criminals do not, more so than someone who is a real threat to our society.


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 19:12 
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Big Tone wrote:
I might as well just hand my licence in now if they target undertaking.

There are so many MLMs, and right lane morons, it would be ridiculous not to undertake at times, so long as it's done safely.

I've never understood why It's illegal anyway. It's not a problem in America once you understand and accept it.

Unlike their UK conterparts; there aren't "fast" :roll: overtaking lanes on US highways.
However, I do take your underlying point; one probably shouldn't drive if one can't change lanes safely.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 19:38 
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Steve wrote:
..I do take your underlying point; one probably shouldn't drive if one can't change lanes safely.
That is my point indeed Steve.

I never assume I can just move anywhere without first looking/assessing the situation.

If one travels abroad, or not, this concept is very important...

Tone

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You will be branded a threat to society by going over a speed limit where it is safe to do so, and suffer the consequences of your actions in a way criminals do not, more so than someone who is a real threat to our society.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 23:13 
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Isn't this the same old problem of trying to make everything black and white when in real life it isn't?


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 23:31 
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whynot wrote:
Isn't this the same old problem of trying to make everything black and white when in real life it isn't?


That's precisely the problem with absolute offences. We already have far too many of the damned things.

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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 15:01 
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Exactly! My ole thing about the drink/driving law.


One molecule under and "on your way sir". One molecule over and your drunk, pi$$ed, three sheets to the wind, inebriated, completely out of control, a danger to society, child killer...

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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 15:55 
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It's the same with these new "tailgating" laws,we all know that the ideal minimum gap is 2 seconds to allow for reaction time,but everyone's reactions are different and every cars braking system is different.

Who's to say that a young, experienced driver, who knows their reaction/braking time, is any less safe travelling 1.75 seconds behind the car in front than some old granny travelling exactly 2 seconds behind the car in front, when she's driving an old moggy and the other guy's in a 911?

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 01:53 
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Certainly making the BIB judge jury and cashier is just awful. I thought they had little time to spend on the road, now they can spend time on the roads and also have time while you are frogmarched to a cash point to pay them, and what if you can't then what ....?
And how well is someone who is now utterly stressed to high heaven going to be on the road when they know they are now booked and must pay £100 or so ?
I gather a third of this Country is already on anti-depressant tablets, this is not going to help.
I do agree to that this will see many BIB especially the authoritarian one's slap out tickets like it is Christmas ...

Then there is the problem of even worse car upkeep and then how many more won't be able to afford insurance ...
Whoever thought this gem up needs a serious re-think !

Plus if the problem stems from not enough Court time then why are we not simply employing more court officials and having 24/7 Courts as they do in the States ?
It is wrong to continue the rift between the Police and the public, making the police become the judge places them squarely in front of those that will take out their aggression on them and that isn't going to be good for anyone.

Even more people will be potentially criminalised over technical offences. If we can have good police patrols then let's have it without this element - thanks!

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:00 
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We need to be careful here! All along it has been a Safespeed precept that we want more BIB and we want them to exercise discretion and stop crime as and when it happens (not by post a couple of weeks later)! This proposal gives us JUST THAT!

Of course, I therefore welcome it BUT ONLY if there is a robust appeals procedure in place. The very last thig we want is a cash-strapped and target-driven force sending people out to "generate income"!


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:12 
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Mole wrote:
We need to be careful here! All along it has been a Safespeed precept that we want more BIB and we want them to exercise discretion and stop crime as and when it happens (not by post a couple of weeks later)! This proposal gives us JUST THAT!


You beat me to it, Moley. This seems to me to be the motoring equivalent of the "clip round the ear" that the old beat bobby is alleged to have administered, with great approval, to young miscreants. It is completely different to cameras in that it allows the police full discretion in the application of the law. If you object to automatic devices and don't trust the traffic police how the hell do you enforce traffic laws. Oh I know: in the Safe Speed Nirvana all drivers are so well trained that they habitually drive perfectly and no regulation is needed. :twisted: :evil:

As I said in another thread: it seems to me that Claire is taking SS down a very negative path but objecting to every attempt by "the authority" to improve road safety. Her bland and unsubstantiated assumption that when a representative of the Fire Service spoke of motorists manging their speed he was referring to speed limits is typical.

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:19 
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Mole wrote:
We need to be careful here! All along it has been a Safespeed precept that we want more BIB and we want them to exercise discretion and stop crime as and when it happens (not by post a couple of weeks later)! This proposal gives us JUST THAT!

Of course, I therefore welcome it BUT ONLY if there is a robust appeals procedure in place. The very last thig we want is a cash-strapped and target-driven force sending people out to "generate income"!

Also only if the alleged offender is ALWAYS stopped and spoken to at the time of the offence. I remain to be convinced this won't end up as another camera-enforced, fine-in-the-post scheme that inevitably will concentrate on easy targets.

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