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ROAD SAFETY BILL REINTRODUCED

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Measures to clamp down on irresponsible driving and improve road...
Measures to clamp down on irresponsible driving and improve road

safety were today reintroduced to parliament.

Britain has one of the best road safety records in the world but the

government is committed to reducing the numbers of people killed and

seriously injured on our roads by 40 per cent by 2010 and numbers of

children by 50 per cent.

The Road Safety Bill continues the government's commitment to drive

down casualties on the road. Measures outlined in the bill include:

Powers for a more flexible system of fixed penalties to match the

punishment to the severity of the offence. The Department for

Transport has consulted on how a system of graduated speeding

penalties might be introduced.

Ensuring that foreign drivers cannot escape punishment in Great

Britain through new powers to issue fixed penalty notices for

endorsable offences and to take deposits from offenders who cannot

provide a verifiable address.

Improving compliance through increased penalties for various

safety-related road traffic offences such as driving whilst using a

hand held mobile phone, careless and inconsiderate driving and using

a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Tackling drink driving through changes to improve take up of the

Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme and powers to provide for an

experimental alcohol ignition interlock scheme. It would also ensure

that the most persistent offenders, disqualified for 24 months or

longer, must retake their driving test.

Clarifying which vehicles can break signed speed limits in emergency

situations, such as the police and those carrying donor organs and

what driver training would be required.

Dealing with poor driving standards by allowing the courts to make

increased use of retraining courses for serious offenders and through

improvements to driving instruction and testing procedures.

Tackling fatigue related accidents by piloting motorway picnic areas.

Making various administrative changes to the licensing regime to

ensure better security and accuracy of the Driving Licence and

prevent 'clocking' fraud in vehicles.

Transport secretary Alistair Darling said:

'These measures will tackle bad and dangerous driving whilst making

penalties fairer with graduated penalties for speeding.

The UK has one of the best records in the world - the number of road

casualties is at its lowest for nearly fifty years - but still more

needs to be done and these plans will undoubtedly improve safety and

further reduce deaths and injuries on our roads.'

Notes

1.The bill will be read in parliament for the first time today and is

now subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

2. Full outline of Road Safety Bill proposals:

Drink Driving

1. Powers to allow offenders disqualified for 24 months or more to

retake the driving test, this would catch most high blood alcohol

content and all repeat drink drive offenders.

2. Closure of a loophole whereby high risk offenders have cover to

drive before completing a DVLA medical test. The period for which a

record of an offence under Section 7A of the Road Traffic Act 1988

(failing to allow laboratory analysis of a specimen obtained whilst

medically unable to consent) can be held by DVLA, will be brought

into line with other drink drive offences ie from 4 to 11 years.

3. Various administrative changes to improve court arrangements and

flexible payment of fees to improve the take up of the Drink Drive

Rehabilitation Scheme and provide for an experimental alcohol

ignition interlock scheme.

Speeding

4. Introduction of variable fixed penalties for speeding - changing

the range of penalty points from 3-6 to 2-6.

5. Banning the carriage or use of safety camera detectors and

jammers.

6. Giving the secretary of state power to grant exemptions from speed

limits and other traffic regulations will be introduced - for example

organ donor vehicles.

Other Bad Driving

7. Extending the use of retraining courses to offenders convicted of

speeding and careless driving.

8. Increasing the maximum penalties for several safety related

offences: careless driving (fine£2,500 to£5,000) using vehicle in

dangerous condition (mandatory disqualify for 2nd offence) failing to

give identity of driver (3 to 6 points) mobile phone/proper control

(£30 to be made endorseable: 3 points£60) rationalising fines for

children not wearing seatbelts (£500 fine for front and rear -

currently£200 in rear and£500 in front)

Driver Training and Testing

9. Amendments to the current 'one-size-fits-all' scheme for car

driving instructors with an ability to introduce schemes targeted to

meet the needs of individual sectors eg lorries, buses, off-road

and fleet driving.

10. Allowing the public access to information about the performance

of individual instructors, their qualifications and their services.

11. Introduction of more flexible powers to extend the user-pays

principle to all forms of test and assessment eg charge test

applicants a fee to rearrange a test appointment.

Fatigue

12. To pilot motorway rest areas similar to French 'aires' as an

alternative to traditional service areas.

Support for Enforcement

There are several areas of the bill that will contribute to

enforcement of various road traffic laws, some deal with licensing

and insurance, others empower enforcement agencies to deal more

flexibly with individual situations and extend the use of fixed

penalties.

13. Various changes to licensing arrangements for drivers to allow

for administrative charges to be levied in various circumstances

(eg renewal of a photocard licence) and provision for the recall of

old format (ie paper) licences.

14. Legislation to enable the international exchange of driver and

vehicle data to combat driving licence and vehicle crime.

15. Legislation to allow mandatory recording of various particulars

(mileage, date of birth etc.) on the vehicle register to improve

accuracy of records and help prevent 'clocking' fraud; and to extend

the current registration scheme for number plate suppliers from

England and Wales to the rest of the UK and make improvements to its

enforcement.

16. Introduction of a system of graduated fixed penalties for

roadworthiness offences and to give adequate enforcement powers to

enforcement agents. A deposit scheme and powers to issue fixed

penalties to non-GB licence holders will also be introduced to ensure

that foreign drivers do not evade punishment by leaving the country

before a summons is served.

Wider Road Safety Issues

The bill also contains various other wider measures that contribute

to the overall programme of improving safety on our roads.

17. Powers will be taken to ensure that innovative road safety

projects can continue to be developed and built upon with grant from

DfT.

18. Powers will be taken to regulate the conversion of vehicles to

run on alternative fuels eg LPG, to ensure conversions are carried

out to the required safety and environmental standards.

19. Improvements will be made to the enforcing the transport of

radioactive materials and the regulation of alternative fuel

conversions.

20. A potential loophole in the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act

1998 will be closed, preventing minicabs in London from evading the

current licensing regime.

3. The Home Office Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005

contains measures contained in the last Road Safety Bill legislation

(introduced to parliament on 30 November 2004) to introduce

evidential roadside breath testing and better target uninsured

vehicles through the use of automatic number plate recognition

technology and data from insurers.

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