‘Better policing, now!’: Road offence crackdown doomed without more traffic cops, insist ACFO

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 14:00
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CRACKDOWN: Safety drive could fail, claim ACFO

New tougher fines for driving offences will fail unless the government deploy more traffic officers, the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) have insisted.

ACFO, despite welcoming the impending penalty increases, insist enforcement will prove extremely difficult due to a shortage of policing – undermining the government’s road safety message.

From Friday (August 16), fixed penalty fines for most motoring offences will increase significantly, with the government simultaneously introducing punishment for careless driving transgressions.

Offences such as using a hand-held mobile phone at the wheel and not wearing a seatbelt will result in a £100 fine – £40 more than the current figure.

The changes are being made to bring penalties for such motoring offences in line with those for similar non-motoring offences.

Meanwhile, careless driving offences – such as tailgating and middle lane-hogging – will also be dealt with through fixed penalty fines.

The fixed penalty for careless driving will be £100 with three points, though the most serious examples will continue to go through the courts.

Julie Jenner, Director at ACFO, said: “Harsher penalties for unsafe driving are to be welcomed.

“However, ACFO is concerned as to the practical aspects of enforcement.

“Many drivers continue to use hand-held mobile phones, for example, in the knowledge that the likelihood of them being caught by the police is minimal.

“In my job I travel many thousands of miles a year on motorways and major roads across the country.

“I see drivers committing a wide range of offences such as those identified by the government – hand-held mobile phone use, middle lane hogging and the non-wearing of a seat belt – but I rarely see any traffic police on patrol.

“Tougher penalties are fine in theory, but without a clearly visible police presence on the roads it is difficult to believe that offenders will be caught.

“The vast majority of drivers are law-abiding.

“However, there are a hard core of drivers that continue to flout the law.

“Without more traffic patrols on the roads ACFO is concerned that those drivers will continue to go unpunished.”

“With the public sector, including the police, facing further budget restraints, ACFO is concerned that existing patrols maybe cut further.

“The government, in tandem with seeking to improve road safety through tougher fines, must ensure there are the police resources available to increase road traffic patrols.”

Image courtesy of West Midlands Police, with thanks.

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