Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Bluff And Nonsense
This morning's papers dutifully report (here is The Guardian's effort) plans to increase fines for some run-of-the-mill traffic offences. Inevitably, the offences will be assessed by police who will decide whether or not to issue a fixed penalty.
These measures will be utterly ineffective in changing drivers' behaviour, for the same reason that the ban on mobile-phone use has left huge numbers of drivers unimpressed:- to detect and punish these offences there needs to be a police officer or two on the spot, and traffic patrol cars are now a rarity. I use motorways several times every week and I cannot recall the last time that I saw a proper jam-sandwich patrol car, unless it was hammering down the outside lane on its way to a call with lights and sirens going full blast.
In court careless driving can attract a fine of up to £5000 and three to nine penalty points, allowing the bench wide discretion to assess the offence. The new arrangements will have no visible effect on drivers' behaviour, and those in charge know it perfectly well.