Will new fines help prevent road traffic accidents

Published: 16/05/2013

The introduction of new penalties for ‘careless driving offences’ as well as increasing of some existing penalties have been unveiled by transport minister, Patrick McLoughlin.

The fine for using a mobile phone whilst driving will be increased by 50% - from £60 to £90 – whilst the number of penalty points will remain at three.

The latest crackdown will also see the enforcement of the same penalty for a range of previous unpunished driving acts including:

  • Cutting up other drivers
  • Eating a sandwich
  • Smoking a cigarette
  • Driving at an inappropriate speed, and
  • Needlessly hogging the middle lane of a motorway.

Patrick McLoughlin comments on the changes:

“We want to save a clear message to dangerous drivers: if you continue to show complete disregard for the safety of other road users, we will catch you – and we will punish you.”

However with figures demonstrating that using a mobile phone whilst driving causes more impairment, and therefore potentially contributes to more road traffic accidents, than being at the drink-drive limit or even under the influence of cannabis, are these new penalties strict enough?

According to the Department of Transport’s Reported Road Casualties Annual Report, using a mobile phone whilst driving contributed to over 550 road traffic accidents in 2011 alone.

Content correct at time of publication

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