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Cumbrian motorists facing new fines

Motorists in Cumbria are going to have to take more care or face a raft of stiff new fines under new powers granted to police.

Mobile phone photo
Fines for using a hand-held phone while driving have gone up

The overhaul followed a Government consultation, which was announced in June, and a £100 fine will be introduced for a wide range of careless driving offences.

Officers can now stop drivers and issue the on-the-spot fines for offences such as tailgating or middle lane hogging.

However, drivers who commit the most serious risky driving offences will still face an appearance in court and much higher penalties.

Fines for most existing fixed penalty notices – such as speeding, using a mobile phone while driving and not wearing a seat belt – have risen from £60 to £100.

And the fine for those caught driving with no insurance will also rise from £200 to £300.

Lawrence Fisher, who represents the Brampton division of Cumbria County Council, is a volunteer for the town’s Speedwatch scheme and welcomed the changes.

He said: “Tailgating is a safety issue. What I do, if anyone is tailgating me, I flick my lights on (so it looks like I am braking) and they brake and drop back.

“Tailgating is very dangerous. If someone is caught in an accident because of tailgating it’s not just the two cars that are affected – it is the others that are behind them.”

Commentators have said that the rules defining middle lane hogging are vague and Mr Fisher agreed that it could be unenforceable by the police.

He said: “There are so many lorries on the roads sitting in the middle lane. There are very few opportunities to pull in. It is people sitting in the outside lane as well.

“I see it in town. Folk come to a roundabout in the outside lane and they going to turn left at the first opportunity.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on roads policing, said the new penalties were “absolutely necessary” to deal with drivers who were putting lives at risk.

She added: “These measures should also act as a reminder to careless drivers that their behaviour will not be tolerated.

“The vast majority of drivers are law abiding, but some are still not getting the message. We said we would get tougher on those who make our roads dangerous and that is exactly what we have done.”

Steve White, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “We are broadly supportive of this and welcome any new measures that seek to improve public safety and inhibit people from breaking the law.”

According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists typical examples of careless driving include:

  • Overtaking while using the inside lane;
  • Driving inappropriately close to another vehicle;
  • Inadvertently driving through a red light;
  • Emerging from a side road into the path of an oncoming vehicle;
  • Tuning a car radio when the driver was avoidably distracted by this action;
  • Selecting and lighting a cigarette or similar when the driver was avoidably distracted by that use.
Have your say

@Jan, the content of your post show great arrogance.

An unblemished license does not imply you are a safe driver and your post demonstrates you aren't. You even go on to clearly state you hog the middle lane. I know some people with shocking driving standards, you name it he's done it, again unblemished record! Just interested to see how many more offenders will be caught will the lack of patrols on the roads.

Posted by CL on 22 August 2013 at 09:09

Well said Stemax, I'm a coach driver and it irritates the life out of me when someone in a car capable of going faster than me slows me down in the middle lane!!

Jan how nice it must be to have an unblemished licence and a qualification in advanced driving, big deal, don't make you perfect though does it and when you say that you never intend to get a point on your licence in the future you probably shouldn't tempt fate like that, I wish I had your confidence!!

Posted by Johnboy on 21 August 2013 at 21:18

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