Plans to increase motoring fines from £60 to £90

  • Fixed Penalty Notices for careless driving proposed
  • Fines to go up from £60 to £90 if plans are agreed
  • Driver training may be an alternative to endorsements

Police will be able to issue careless drivers with a Fixed Penalty Notice rather than going through the costly saga of a court hearing under new proposals unveiled today.

The proposals, designed to make less serious driving offences easier to deal with, will go out to consultation and they also include a plan to increase standard fines for careless driving from £60 to £90 with three points on a driver’s licence.

It is hoped the proposals, if agreed, will give the police greater flexibility in dealing with less serious driving offences and cut down on long legal processes. The fixed penalty will also enable the police to offer educational training as an alternative to endorsement.

Drivers would still be able to appeal any decision in court and the more serious cases will continue to go through court, where offenders may face higher penalties.

At present, the police can enforce careless driving offences by the following methods: issue a warning with no further action or summons to court for the more serious cases. The offence attracts between 3-9 penalty points, a fine of up to £5,000 and discretionary disqualification.

There is a separate offence for causing death by careless driving, which has higher penalties, including mandatory disqualification and the option of a jail sentence.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said: "Careless driving is a major public concern and a cause of deaths and injuries on our roads.

"These changes support both police enforcement and, for some cases, the associated offer of educational training for motorists unaware of the full, potential consequences of driving carelessly. We also need to make sure that the penalties for a wide range of fixed penalty motoring offences are set at reasonable levels, consistent with the potentially severe consequences of some infringements."

Endorsable offences such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt, using a mobile phone while at the wheel or jumping red lights will come under the realms of a fixed penalty notice where a £90 fine plus three penalty points will be issued.

Similar increases to other fixed penalties are also being considered for non-endorsable offences (such as vehicle defects) insurance offences and graduated fixed penalties (such as driver hour regulations) but there are no plans to make any changes to penalty levels for parking offences.

The proposals also include a plan to increase non-endorsable £30 Fixed Penalty Notices to £45 (offences include vehicle defects, lighting, noise or traffic regulation orders) and the fine for a driving a vehicle without insurance will go up from £200 to £300.

Other plans to increase the fixed penalty for keeping a vehicle without insurance and graduated fixed penalties (which mainly relate to drivers hours and overloading offences) are also on the table.

The consultation opens today and will close on September 5 2012. The consultation document can be found at http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2012-25/.