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Clear guidance needed when it comes to Careless Driving penalties says FTA

Following the news that the Department for Transport (DfT) is to announce today (Wednesday 5 June, 2013) of its intention to go ahead with proposals to make Careless Driving a fixed penalty offence, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has called on Government to issue clear, transparent guidance to police forces in identifying careless driving.

FTA responded to the Government consultation on these issues in August 2012 stating that it was important to have a system in place that makes the process of dealing with motoring offences less time consuming for the police. Such a system would encourage more offences to be pursued rather than the very time consuming and costly process of taking drivers through the courts.

FTA supports the new approach to the enforcement of careless driving and agrees that it should be a fixed penalty offence. The Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) system is more likely to have a greater deterrent affect due to the likely increased insurance costs that offenders will also face.

However, whilst FTA supports the increase in fixed penalty values in line with accumulated inflation, the Association has expressed concern that the changes had been left for so long with sudden increases so as to catch up with inflation.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA – Head of Policy for Roads argued:
"The review of fixed penalty levels was long overdue and we believe that the new levels will better reflect the severity of the offences covered. It is important that fines provide a real deterrent to illegal behaviour and encourage greater compliance with road safety laws which are in place to ensure the wellbeing of all road users.

Bingham added: "While calculating inflation over a 12 to 15 year period is a mathematical issue it becomes difficult to convince the public the large increases are in line with inflation. We therefore would support a better system of review of penalties say on a 2 yearly basis."

In DfT announcement the increases to the amounts each band of fixed penalty and roadside deposit for foreign vehicles will incur were set out.

The new bandings will be:

• Band Current penalty level Penalty level after changes
• 1 £30 £50
• 2 £60 £100
• 3 £120 £200
• 4 £200 £300

Graduated fixed penalties for commercial and PSV vehicles will also be increased to match new levels set in fixed penalties.

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