No Room on the Road for Bad Drivers
|   Thursday, June 12, 2014

Drivers who break traffic rules do not only make themselves more susceptible to accidents; they also endanger the lives of motorists and pedestrians around them. Even if they do not cause an accident, they may have to face penalties if they are caught by police officers. Penalties for traffic offences usually come in the form of penalty points, fines or prison sentences. Serious offences that result in imprisonment can have devastating consequences on the lives of the offenders and their family members.
In an effort to reduce traffic accidents, the UK government has imposed heavier penalties for bad drivers.

Banned Drivers Who Cause Death

According to a BBC.com article, the UK government is planning to introduce tougher penalties for disqualified drivers who are responsible for causing death on the road. The maximum sentence for such an offence will be raised from two to ten years' imprisonment, and the revised law is expected to come into effect in 2015. Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice showed that approximately 8,200 people were convicted of disqualified driving and 13 uninsured, unlicensed or disqualified drivers were convicted of causing death in 2012. These figures are expected to decline significantly after the new penalties are imposed.

Uninsured Drivers

It is considered illegal for people to drive in the UK without at least third party car insurance. In an article published in InsuranceAge.co.uk, it is said that Transport Minister Stephen Hammond announced last year that the government planned to increase the penalty for driving without insurance from £200 to £300. He said that uninsured drivers are five times more likely to violate traffic rules, get involved in accidents or participate in criminal activities, and they are costing innocent motorists about £30 per policy.

Drivers Who Kill Cyclists and Pedestrians

Motorists who kill cyclists and pedestrians are also facing heavier penalties. As of 2013, the maximum sentence for causing death by reckless driving is 14 years in jail, according to an article in The Times. In 2008, the same offence only carried a maximum punishment of five years in prison, but according to road safety campaigners, offenders would usually face lesser charges. In an attempt to provide better protection for cyclists, the Department for Transport is considering the possibility of introducing cyclists' priority traffic lights and filter signals in 2015 to enable cyclists to get a head start at traffic lights.

Using Mobile Phone While Driving

As part of its crackdown on risky driving, the UK government will also impose harsher penalties on motorists who use mobile phones to make phone calls or send text messages while driving. According to an article in TheGuardian.com, the Department for Transport indicated that it will increase the fine for a number of offences by 50 percent, from £60 to £90. These offences include using mobile phone, lighting a cigarette or eating a sandwich while driving; cutting up other motorists; hogging the middle lane unnecessarily; and driving at an inappropriate speed.

Now that traffic offenders have to face heavier penalties, motorists should try to make a conscious effort to avoid violating traffic rules.
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