Yesterday it was announced that there is a plan to allow police to issue on the Fixed Penalty Fines (FPN) to road users who driver dangerously, carelessly and inconsiderately.
The fines will be issued for doing such things as tailgating, undertaking and cutting up other road users. They are certainly welcomed but will they have an effect on how people behave whilst surrounded by metal?
It seems that the fines are here to make the roads safer in the UK and to force drivers to act better on the roads. Another angle is that the fines will skip the process with the CPS, which means it’s relatively fast and the paperwork is minimal in comparison. This means it’s a pull you over, ticket you, on your way kind of job rather than lots of desk work filling out forms for all involved. Basically dealt in the same way as speeding tickets.
At present there are minimal amounts of police on the roads. As I’ve mentioned before the roads are essential un-policed and we are in this current situation because drivers are not being fined, cautioned or warned about what they are doing wrong and thus it becomes an everyday part of their driving.
As Roger Geffen, the CTC Campaigns and Policy Director said:
A careless driving fixed penalty notice is welcome, but should only be used where no injury has occurred and the driving is demonstrably careless, not dangerous. We have concerns that too often driving which is objectively dangerous is treated by police and prosecutors as merely ‘careless’.
He raises a good point that dangerous driving is often toned down. Is this just because we are used to it?
I often get comments on my videos that go something like this:
Close passes are a part of cycling, live with it
Just because it’s something we are currently ‘used’ to, doesn’t mean we should put up with it. Passing a cyclist too closely can be very dangerous and is something that is hardly ever addressed!
Unfortunately there are planned cuts in the police force, which is only going to mean even less police officers on the roads. Looking at the laws relating to mobile phone use whilst in a vehicle which was introduced in 2003, the number of drivers which still talk away whilst driving is not getting any lower. Clearly the message is not getting through and the drivers know there is little chance they will be caught! Is this just going to go down the same road?
On a good note, a lot of clips of bad driving were shown today on the news. And as the list of cyclists that use cameras gets longer, so does the footage of bad and inconsiderate driving.
We need to continue to highlight the issues we are having on the road with dangerous and inconsiderate drivers. So far this year we have had large amounts of media coverage and things can only get bigger!
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