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.
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