The Department for Transport has unveiled a host of measures
designed to improve road safety across Britain. The plans aim to
assist learner drivers and punish dangerous drivers. The proposals
form part of the Government's Road Safety Plan which is subject
to consultation later this year. These proposals are set out
Use of Mobile Telephones When Driving
The Government is planning on introducing tougher penalties for
drivers caught using their mobile telephone when driving. The
proposal is to increase the amount payable under a fixed penalty
notice from £100 to £150. In addition, the plans
include increasing the number of penalty points to be endorsed on a
driver's driving licence, from three to four points. Drivers of
larger vehicles and HGVs will receive 6 penalty points under these
proposals due to the fact that any accident they are involved in is
likely to be much more serious.
The plans do, however, allow for a first time offender to be
offered an educational course as an alternative to receiving a fine
and penalty points. The plans are primarily focused, therefore,
towards drivers that continue to use their mobile telephone whilst
at the wheel.
For the first time, learner drivers will be offered the
opportunity to experience motorway driving prior to passing their
driving tests. The proposals would allow learner drivers to take a
motorway driving lesson with an approved instructor, in a dual
The Government intends to provide a grant of £750,000 to
Police forces throughout England and Wales to ensure greater
numbers of police officers are provided with drug recognition and
impairment testing equipment. It is suggested that this will allow
for a more targeted approach to enforcement, resulting in the
removal of a greater number of dangerous drivers from UK roads.
A grant of £50 million over the next 4 years is expected
to support cycle training in schools. The funding aims to increase
road awareness and encourage children to be healthy and active.
Changes to Compulsory Basic Training (CBT)
The CBT for learner motorcyclists is set to be amended with
suggestions including the introduction of a theory test to ensure a
better understanding of the Highway Code.
Currently, a rider who completes the CBT on an automatic
motorcycle would also be authorised to ride a manual 125cc
motorcycle. The proposals state that those riders completing the
CBT on an automatic motorcycle should be restricted to riding only
automatic bikes, as with cars.
Other suggestions include extending the length of the CBT which
currently lasts only one day, and reducing the length of time the
CBT certificate is valid, from two years to one.
What is the purpose of these proposals?
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin explained:
"Britain has some of the safest roads in the world but we
are always looking to improve that record. Today we are delivering
common sense proposals that balance tougher penalties for dangerous
drivers with practical steps to help youngsters and other more
vulnerable groups stay safe on our roads."
We await announcement of the consultations on these proposals,
following which a further update will follow.
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