FPN for Careless Driving

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!

News containing videos from cyclists

Driving whilst on the phone

In 3 days of cycle commuting last week, i saw nearly 10 drivers using there mobile phone whilst being in control of a moving vehicle. This is a real pet hate of mine, and anyone i see doing so is named and shamed on youtube and more than likely the footage is passed onto the Police. What they choose to do with it is up to them. If they are in company vehicles, i will also contact that company and make them aware of their drivers using mobiles whilst driving.

Anyone that has been in control of any vehicle in a metropolis will know that concentration is very important, traffic levels are always changing and cyclist and motorcyclist can appear from ‘no where’ if you aren’t watching your mirrors. Pedestrians will cross as soon as the traffic has stopped. Why do some people think that it is acceptable to drive a motor vehicle whilst holding a mobile phone to ear?

Being in charge of a motor vehicle and holding a mobile phone is against the law in the UK and you can be finned £60 (up to £1000 if taken to court) and 3 points on your license. But with the dropping number of police on the roads the motorists know they can get away with it 99/100 and this isn’t just limited to using mobile phones. Any one that is subscribed to my youtube channel or regularly watches videos from cyclists, they will see that some people behave on the roads in an unacceptable manner.

A study run by the department of psychology at the university of Utah in USA named ‘Fatal Distraction? A Comparison of the Cell Phone Drive and the Drunk Driver’ compares the reaction time of drunk drivers and drivers on the phone whilst in control of the vehicle. In summary:

We used a high-fidelity driving simulator to compare the performance of cell-phone drivers with drivers who were legally intoxicated from ethanol. When drivers were conversing on either a hand-held or hands-free cell-phone, their reactions were sluggish and they attempted to compensate by driving slower and increasing the following distance from the vehicle immediately in front of them. By contrast, when drivers were legally intoxicated they exhibited a more aggressive driving style, following closer to the vehicle immediately in front of them and applying more force while braking. When controlling for driving difficulty and time on task, cell-phone drivers exhibited greater impairment than intoxicated drivers.

A copy of the study can be downloaded from here.

Below are a selection of the drivers on the phone.