The introduction of on the spot motoring fines announced today is a big step forward in road safety and reduction in accidents. Police can now issue on the spot fines of £100 for, amongst other things, the use of a mobile phone when driving and for not using a seatbelt.
Anyone who drives will have seen vehicles moving erratically and noticed on closer inspection that this is due to the driver being on the phone. There is a widespread disregard for the law on this point because so few people are prosecuted as a result of this offence – there appear to be insufficient deterrents. However, stories of tragic accidents and fatalities arising from a moment’s inattention when using a mobile phone are too frequent. This is therefore a big step forward in the deterrent stakes as people will now be aware that police will be looking out for this and able to enforce immediate sanctions.
The question remains whether this is enough of a restraint given that the fine is £100 and it is still heavily dependent on how vigilant the police are on this issue.
Philippa Luscombe, head of the personal injury team at Penningtons, said: “This is a real opportunity to address a widespread problem which is the direct cause of a number of accidents each day. However, it is key that the message comes across that it is not just a fine that people may be faced with – criminal prosecutions may also follow – and that the police are going to be pro active in looking out for this and stopping drivers. In respect of the fine for not wearing a seatbelt, our impression is that seatbelt usage has significantly improved. However, we see first hand the injuries sustained when people involved in accidents are not wearing seatbelts and anything to encourage people to remember to use them is to be commended. As a whole we are pleased with the new system of fines, all of which are steps along the way to reducing road traffic accidents and injuries.”