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Government Introduces Plans To Improve Road Safety

The government has published a paper on how it plans to improve road safety levels in the country, and has said that they will open consultation on the 6 proposals over the coming year. Such proposals include an increase in penalties for drivers caught using their mobile phones, motorway training provided for all new drivers, a police grant to help increase the number of police that are on the streets enforcing laws, a cycle training grant, and a cycling safety consultation programme, as well as a driver education research programme.

It is currently illegal for drivers with a provisional licence to drive on the motorways, regardless of whether they have a skilled instructor with them or not. As a result, many new drivers end up in accidents once they hit these busy and fast roads for the first time. Under proposals, learner drivers would be allowed to have lessons on the motorway before taking their test, as long as they are in a dual controlled car and are accompanied by a trained instructor. Learners will not be allowed to use parents or friends to sit in the passenger seat, and while some will welcome this move, fleet drivers and other motoring groups may be less than enamoured.

Fines and penalties for using a mobile phone while behind the wheel could also increase. Under current laws, drivers that are found guilty receive a £100 fine and three penalty points on their licence. Proposed new laws would mean that repeat offenders will see the number of points their receive increase to 4, HGV and large vehicle drivers will receive 6 points, and all offenders will receive a higher fine of £150.

The government has also said that it will provide a £750m police grant to enable forces to send more traffic police out on patrol. Many drivers and motoring groups are concerned that speed cameras are being used rather than police, and that these cameras are unable to detect certain types of offence, such as dangerous or reckless driving. The grant would help ensure that there are more police on the roads.

RAC Warns That Stricter Mobile Phone Laws Will Only Work With Greater Enforcement

Motoring group, the RAC, has said that while they welcome the move to increase fines and penalties for drivers that are caught using their mobile phone while driving, they doubt that it will have any positive affect, unless there is a simultaneous push to enforce the laws.

Despite the fact that the number of accidents caused by mobile phone using drivers has increased to nearly 500 a year, the number of prosecutions for this offence has dropped significantly. The government has said that it will increase fines and the number of penalty points given to offenders, but the RAC has said that stricter penalties are only going to prove effective if police forces are encouraged to police the roads and are given the resources to try and catch those that are guilty of the crime.

Under current motoring laws, offenders that are caught holding a mobile phone while driving can receive a fine of £100 and 3 points on their driving licence. The government has recently announced that it wants to increase the fine for all offenders to £150, while repeat offenders will receive 4 penalty points, and drivers of larger vehicles like HGVs and buses, who have the potential to cause much more serious accidents, will receive 6 points.

They have also said that first time offenders will be offered, in most cases, the opportunity to take a driver awareness course rather than face the points and the fine, but this would not be an option for second or subsequent offences. They hope that by increasing the penalties faced, drivers will be less inclined to use their mobile phone, thereby reducing the number of accidents and injuries that are caused by mobile phone use while driving.

The RAC is one of a number of groups that has welcomed the increase in penalties, but with the caveat that no matter how much fines are increased, if the laws are not properly policed and drivers are not actively pursued for their use of mobile phones, then the changes will have little to no effect on accident rates.

The Issuing Of Speeding Tickets Double

Breaking news has reported that the number of speeding tickets issued by Cambridgeshire Police has doubled since 2013.

Police are making a nationwide campaign through their THINK! initiative which launches this week and will last all month.

It has been stated that throughout January Police in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire will be out in force looking for motorists breaking the speeding laws, as well as other driving offences.

At present the the minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points added to your driving licence.

Figures recently released by Cambridgeshire Police have shown that in 2013 they issued 20,187 speeding ticket. This is half the number issued in 2014 and 2015 when those figures reached a staggering 41,407 and 40,861, respectively.

Constabularies in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire recently undertook a Twitter poll for their followers and it revealed that tail gating was seen as being the worst form of bad driving. Tail gating got some 43% of the vote with Speeding following with some 25% and undertaking with 8%.

Inspector Philip Bloor stated, “Driving too close to the car in front, undertaking and failing to signal are widely accepted as examples of bad driving. However, some drivers fail to accept that excessive and inappropriate speeding is also poor driving and one of the contributions to avoidable collisions that result in death or serious injury.

“It’s simple, the faster you drive the less time you have to react and you are putting not only your life at risk but also the lives of others.”

A further breakdown of the figures shows that between the 3 counties some 125,279 drivers were issues with speeding tickets in 2014. That can be broken down into county based figures with Bedfordshire issuing 36,290, Cambridgeshire issuing 41,407 and Hertfordshire issuing some 47,582.

About Carl Millar

Carl Millar is a highly respected and experienced drink driving solicitor who is the principal of Millars Solicitors.

Carl has been a specialist in road traffic law for many years and represents clients from all walks of life and all over the Country. He is well known for the dogged defending of his clients and robust cross examination of police officers and exert witnesses.

With a wealth of expertise in motoring law Carl is well placed to provide advice over the phone and deal with all road traffic matters in a calm and professional way.

Getting in contact with Carl and Millars Solicitors is really easy. You can call him FREE on 0800 999 5535 or in an emergency you can call on 07855 806119.

Contact Millars Solicitors

Nearly Half Of Drivers Break Driving Laws

It may not come as a surprise to everybody, but a survey conducted by Brake and Direct Line shows that nearly a half of all drivers admit to breaking driving laws. Of those that admitted to having broken a driving law, half said that they did it inadvertently, while the other half said that they did it because they believed that they would get away with it.

There have been a number of changes to, and additions to, road laws in the UK in past years. Drug driving laws were introduced earlier this year, although driving while under the influence has been an offence for a long time. Middle lane hogging, driving dangerously close to the car in front, and even soaking pedestrians by driving through puddles have all been given special attention, too, with the police getting the power to issue spot fines for these types of offence.

Variable speed limits on the motorway, and even the reduction of speed limits on many roads around towns from 30mph to 20mph have also hit the headlines, while the widespread use of mobile phones and other mobile devices means that specific laws prohibiting the use of these devices while driving have even been introduced. In some respects, it could be considered understandable that a driver might inadvertently break a driving law on occasion.

The results of the survey show, however, that it isn’t just inadvertent rule breaking or absent-mindedness that has led to people breaking the rules of the road. 49% of respondents admitted that they had broken driving laws, and half of those that said they had done so, said that they had done it because they believed they would get away with it.

60% of men said that they had broken laws, compared to only 42% of women, and 69% of all respondents said that they were better drivers than most people on the road. When asked to list the offences that they see around them, most often, distraction was listed as the most common with tailgating, speeding, and risky overtaking habits also featuring.

About Carl Millar

Carl Millar is a highly respected and experienced drink driving solicitor who is the principal of Millars Solicitors.

Carl has been a specialist in road traffic law for many years and represents clients from all walks of life and all over the Country. He is well known for the dogged defending of his clients and robust cross examination of police officers and exert witnesses.

With a wealth of expertise in motoring law Carl is well placed to provide advice over the phone and deal with all road traffic matters in a calm and professional way.

Getting in contact with Carl and Millars Solicitors is really easy. You can call him FREE on 0800 999 5535 or in an emergency you can call on 07855 806119.

Contact Millars Solicitors

DVLA Accused Of Poor Planning Over New Driving Licence Changes

In scenes reminiscent of those that occurred with the paperless tax disc changes, the DVLA has been accused of poorly publicising changes to driving licences, that will mean paper counterparts are no longer required. What’s more, critics have said that the changes could leave UK holidaymakers, and especially those that are travelling to Europe and wish to hire a car when they arrive, unable to get the car that they have booked without facing hefty roaming charges and causing untold queues.

From a driver’s point of view, the changes will make very little day-to-day difference, except that they will be able to throw away battered paper licences, and points will be held on a central database that will be accessible to insurers and other parties with a genuine need to be able to see the data.

The two part licence, which includes a plastic driver details section, similar in size to a credit card so that it fits into a wallet or purse, and a paper counterpart section, including details of driver penalties and points amassed over a four year period, was introduced in 1998. The new licence was unpopular when it was launched, because it was seen as being unnecessarily complicated. However, if the government or DVLA thought that scrapping the counterpart section would win them praise, then they were mistaken.

The primary objections to the changes seem to be regarding the hiring of rental cars. Currently, when renting a car, a driver is usually required to present their paper counterpart when collecting the car. This section is used to detail the penalty points and convictions that a driver has, but these details will be held on a central penalties database.

Critics have said that the new system will cause problems when hiring in the UK, but will cause even greater problems when abroad. Some European rental companies are completely unaware of the changes, which take place on 8th June, and they may still demand paper counterparts. It is possible for drivers to go online and obtain a code that can be used to access a driver’s details, but these are only valid for 72 hours, which means that holidaymakers may have to access Internet cafes or face paying hefty data roaming charges to get online and get their code.

About Carl Millar

Carl Millar is a highly respected and experienced drink driving solicitor who is the principal of Millars Solicitors.

Carl has been a specialist in road traffic law for many years and represents clients from all walks of life and all over the Country. He is well known for the dogged defending of his clients and robust cross examination of police officers and exert witnesses.

With a wealth of expertise in motoring law Carl is well placed to provide advice over the phone and deal with all road traffic matters in a calm and professional way.

Getting in contact with Carl and Millars Solicitors is really easy. You can call him FREE on 0800 999 5535 or in an emergency you can call on 07855 806119.

Contact Millars Solicitors

Drivers Still Don’t Understand New Drug Driving Laws

Nearly two months after new drug driving laws were introduced, a survey reveals that more than half of drivers do not fully understand the new laws, and especially governing the taking of prescription drugs that are included on the list of prohibited or tested drugs. Although experts have said that drivers who stick to prescriptions are unlikely to fall foul of penalties that include a minimum 12 month ban and a fine of up to £5,000, 8 prescription drugs that include those designed to combat anxiety and a number that are designed to control pain are included.

Critics have said that the government did not do enough to ensure that people were properly educated with regards to the changes, which saw 2 people a day convicted of the new offences during the first nine days of its introduction.

Of the 16 drugs that are included in the list that police should test for, eight of them are prescription drugs. Methadone and morphine are included, along with temazepam and diazepam, all of which have genuine health uses. While following prescription and healthcare advice, the drugs will not usually badly impair a person’s ability to drive safely, but mistakes with prescriptions could not only lead to people taking too much medication but may ultimately lead to driving disqualification and even to a prison sentence.

Drug driving is responsible for a large number of fatalities and serious injuries on UK roads, and clearly something needs to be done to help resolve the issue and to make roads safer, but the survey results show that there is still considerable confusion over the changes.

53.3% of drivers that were questioned said that they were not fully aware of the details of the changes, which the government said would provide the police with much greater powers to prosecute drug drivers. Less than 30% of respondents said that they thought the changes would result in less accidents, while 38.2% said that they thought penalties and repercussions needed to be higher still in order to prevent people from getting behind the wheel when they were under the influence of drugs.

Campaigners Want A Two Tier Penalty System For Scottish Drink Driving Laws

Campaigners have said that it is unfair that drivers who are over the new drink driving laws in Scotland, but would fall under the previous limit which is the same as in force in the rest of the UK, should receive the same penalties as those that are found to have alcohol above the higher limit in their system. They want a two tier penalty system, so that drivers who are only just over the new limit would not face a minimum 12 month ban, a fine of up to £5,000, and a potential jail sentence.

However, police and supporters of the changes, have said that preventing deaths and injuries is their first priority and that if the changes manage to prevent even a single death, then they will have proven successful.

Changes to the drink driving law in Scotland were introduced on 5th December, and these mean that drivers in Scotland now face a lower limit on the amount of alcohol they are allowed than drivers in England and Wales. The new limit is set at 50mg per 100ml of breath, which for most people will mean a single pint of beer or a single glass of wine will put them over the limit. In England and Wales, however, drivers are permitted up to 80mg per 100ml, although this is the equal highest limit in Europe, and there are those that have called for the limit to be dropped across the whole country.

The new limits have been blamed for the demise of a number of pubs, and they have even been blamed for a poor performing Scottish company because they have, according to the chief economist for the Bank of Scotland, stunted growth of the pub and alcohol industry in the country. Landlords fear that the effects will be far worse than were experienced following the smoking ban.

Since the new limits were introduced, only 42 drivers have been found to have had an alcohol level between the current 50mg and the old 80mg limit, from a total of 491 convicted drink drivers.

Disqualified Drivers To Face Tougher Sentences For Killing

Drivers that kill or injure others when driving while disqualified will face much tougher sentences under the new Criminal Justice and Courts Act, which came into force on April 13th. Under the new laws, disqualified drivers that get behind the wheel and kill face a sentence of up to ten years in prison, compared to the previous maximum of two years.

Causing serious injury when driving while disqualified, which is an entirely new offence, will carry a maximum penalty of four years as the government attempts to ensure that victims of crime feel that the perpetrators have received reasonable justice. These changes also coincide with other changes – drivers that are disqualified and imprisoned for a driving offence, will no longer serve their ban while incarcerated. Drivers will essentially see their ban begin from the day that they are released.

The Criminal Justice and Courts Act has been introduced as a means of ensuring that victims, and families of victims, have received reasonable justice and that the perpetrators of crimes do not get away with too lenient a punishment. The Act covers a wide range of different types of offence, and not just motoring law, but it is seen as a positive step by campaigners that want improved justice for criminal driving.

Under previous laws, a convicted driver could see out the whole or a majority of his ban while sitting behind bars. Critics argued that the ban was essentially meaningless, because those that had committed the most serious crimes would be able to leave prison and get straight behind the wheel of a car again. The new laws mean that any disqualification will effectively be put on hold and will run consecutively rather than concurrently.

What’s more, the introduction of new laws and the changing of existing laws means that the community as a whole and, more specifically, victims and families of victims affected by criminal driving will feel better satisfied by the judgement that is handed down to criminal drivers. A maximum of ten years in prison can now be handed to disqualified drivers that get behind the wheel illegally and kill another person.

Could Ford End The Speeding Problem On Our Roads?

Car manufacturer Ford has designed new technology that automatically detects the legal speed limit for a road and effectively prevents a car from driving over this limit. The technology will be introduced on the S-MAX 2015 models, and will use a combination of satellite navigation system and automatic detection cameras that can “read” speed limit signs on the road to prevent cars in which it is fitted from being able to drive over the enforced speed limit.

Drivers can choose whether or not to have the Intelligent Speed Limiter operating while they are driving, which means that owners of the S-MAX and any other future models that incorporate the technology will still be able to drive over the limit. However, if the technology proves successful, it may become an obligatory addition to cars in the future, in the same way that features like car tyre pressure monitors have.

Ford has said that it is meant to remove one of the stresses associated with driving, and that it would prove especially useful when a driver is on a stretch of road with constantly changing speed limits, or when a car owner takes their car on unknown roads for the first time. They have also said that it can be used in the UK and on roads abroad.

Speeding and speed limits are a constant bone of contention between motoring groups, lobbyists, the government, and drivers. There are calls to increase motorway speeds on stretches that have variable speed limits, while many town councils have come under fire for introducing lower 20mph limits on streets around towns and cities. However, it is a fact that excessive speeding is more likely to lead to accidents, and that accidents involving speeding motorists are more likely to lead to fatalities and serious injuries.

Ford has seemingly stopped short of pushing the new technology as a means to prevent speeding, especially because it will be possible to turn the technology off, but its automatic speed limit detection means that it could prove more effective in preventing motorists from speeding when compared to the speed limiters that are often incorporated into cruise control systems.

Fines For Idling Motorists

It has been dubbed as yet another form of tax on motorists, as new fines are to be introduced next month which will see motorists that leave their cars idling face a penalty of £20. Primarily, the changes will hit London motorists, with two boroughs said to be preparing 100 officers to enforce the little known law and the newly proposed fines.

The fines are intended as a last resort, and will apparently only be given if a motorist refuses to turn off their engines, but critics and motoring groups have said that it is little more than a tax on car owners, and have said that councils should chase larger vehicles in order to reduce emissions because this is where the greatest reductions can be made. Fines will not be given to those at red lights or waiting in traffic, apparently.

Traffic wardens and lawmakers have come under fire in recent years, with those in London bearing the brunt of drivers’ angst. The introduction of new fines, congestion charges, and additional charges have left motorists fuming, and the fact that at least two councils will start clamping down on idling motorists from 1st May is unlikely to improve matters. However, the councils have said that they are taking steps to help reduce emissions levels.

Motoring groups have said that the law, which was introduced quietly by the government in 2002, will do little to help reduce emissions levels but said that it would be better to concentrate efforts on large vehicles, and also on helping to curb traffic congestion. Research suggests that 30% of car emissions come from cars stuck in heavy traffic, and taxi groups have said that the government should pay more attention to reducing traffic jams and queueing in order to help meet targets. Other groups have said that large vehicles like HGVs give off a greater amount of emissions and would prove to be a better and more effective target.

London isn’t the only area that is believed to be introducing these changes, with a number of councils already warning drivers that they could face fines of £20, and also highlighting the risks posed by parents that leave their cars idling while dropping children off at school.