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New penalties to tackle careless drivers

 
Careless drivers who put other road users at risk face on-the-spot penalties under new measures announced today by road safety minister Stephen Hammond.
 
The changes will give the police powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving, giving them greater flexibility in dealing with less serious careless driving offences - such as tailgating or middle lane hogging - and freeing them from resource-intensive court processes.
 
The fixed penalty will also enable the police to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement. Drivers will still be able to appeal any decision in court.
 
In addition, existing fixed penalty levels for most motoring offences - including using a mobile phone at the wheel and not wearing a seatbelt - will rise to £100 to bring them into line with the penalties for similar non-motoring fixed penalties.
 
Stehen Hammond said: "Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people's lives at risk. That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court.
 
"We are also increasing 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."
 
The fixed penalty for careless driving will be £100 with three points on the driver's licence. The most serious examples will continue to go through court, where offenders may face higher penalties.
 
There are no changes to penalty levels for parking offences.
 
Fixed penalty levels for most of these motoring offences have not increased since 2000, and are now lower than other penalties of a similar severity.
 
In addition, raising the penalty levels for these offences offers an additional incentive for drivers to take up remedial courses which address poor driving behaviour in the longer term.
 
The changes - which the Government aim to bring into force in July this year - are being introduced following extensive public consultation with road safety groups and Police forces.

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