According to a number of newspaper articles recently, including the Daily Mail, it would appear that the wankers in Government are targetting the drivers again in order to get a few quick bucks. The basis of this rant is proposed legislation to enable Police Officers to issue fixed penalty notices for a number of new offences, whereas historically they had to issue summonses to court. These offences include a variety of offences which are detailed below.
Thousands of drivers who would have escaped prosecution for collisions after simply swapping insurance details will now face likely prosecution as soon as the police become involved.
An array of trivial motoring offences in addition to minor crashes are also likely to lead to action under proposals to give police powers to issue fixed penalty notices for careless driving.
They could include eating, drinking or smoking at the wheel, reading a map, tuning a radio or arguing with a passenger.
All funds raised from the on-the-spot fines will go directly to the Treasury, which already makes more than £100 million a year from speed cameras.
The biggest issue that I have with this is the fact that the police will be involved after they have been called to deal with the aftermath of an otherwise minor accident. That means they are not witnesses to the offence, they will not investigate, most police officers have no idea about the investigation of the causes of accidents, they will be influenced by the witness accounts, which we all know can be wildly inaccurate, and if the “victim” feels particularly hard done by could even be malicious in intent.
The proposals triggered fears of a surge in the number of drivers being prosecuted, as happened following the introduction of speed cameras.
There were 260,000 people convicted of speeding offences in 2000-01 when speed cameras were in their infancy but by 2006-07, after they had been rolled out nationwide, this figure had reached 1.75 million.
But the Government has been alarmed by the fall in the number of convictions for poor driving. In 1986 there were 107,600 motorists convicted of careless driving but by 2006 this had fallen by more than 75 per cent to only 25,400.
“The level of enforcement is steadily dropping,” the Government noted in the consultation paper which raises concerns that a sharp decline in the number of convictions for careless driving may be due to the amount of paperwork involved in the police bringing prosecutions.
The figures above make compulsive reading, however they need to be tempered by the fact that most police forces and the Home Office in particular have not used the Police to police the roads since the introduction of speed cameras, Surrey Police have a fraction of the Traffic Officers on the roads today that they had in 2000. In fact only a few christmases ago, they had no Traffic Officers deployed to deal with Drink Driving on Christmas Eve, they were all deployed to deal with drunken revellers in town centres. Not that long ago Hampshire had only two Traffic Cars deployed to cover one of the biggest geographical counties in the South of England. So to cite that the conviction rate has fallen because of the paperwork is bollox, it is solely down to the fact that there are no Traffic Police Officers out there doing their jobs.
Most Worrying though is the following quote
“This would suggest that there are careless drivers who are currently ‘getting away with it’,” the document states.
Some also warned that the new system would see motorists will fall foul of police officers under pressure to prove they are cost-effective and meet targets.
The suggestion that drivers are “getting away with it” clearly shows that the Home Office is rabidly anti-car and anti driver. In the case where an accident occurs, if someone feels that the accident was caused by dangerous or careless driving, they are perfectly at liberty to call the police to the scene of the accident. The Police, will generally not do much, however, if they feel that there is enough proof that one of the party was driving in a manner that they could secure a conviction they would generally deal with it as appropriate.
One other concern is that the police may issue Fixed Penalty Notices to one party, does that mean that their insurance company will take that as an admission of guilt, if so they could then decline to pay out any insurance claim relating to that accident? Meaning that a driver would then be sued by the injured party?
The Daily Mail then go on to quote
“Cops aren’t daft,” said Kevin Delaney, Scotland Yard’s former head of traffic. “They are human like the rest of us and will take the easiest option.
Sorry that does not stack up, a lot of Cops are daft. Taking the easiest option to me seems like issuing a FPN, rather than gather sufficent evidence for a court case. Result: Drivers Lose
“The easier you make it for them to meet performance targets by issuing tickets, the more likely they are to do it.”
Yep, so the driver loses.
Critics fear that making it easier for careless driving prosecutions to take place will simply mean that the Treasury will cash in from the sharp rise in income from fines.
So as usual the Government will rake in millions, and the driver will foot the bill.
Will someone please take this government outside and shoot the Fuckers.