Currently those receiving a fixed penalty notice for breaking the speed limit face three penalty points and a fine of £100 – potentially less than those caught littering from a car. Cash raised from the fines goes straight to the Government.
But Alison Hernandez, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, wants fines to be raised and a proportion of that money returned to police forces so it can be reinvested in road safety measures.
A total of 2,680 people took part in the online survey run by the PCC, who is national lead for road safety for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners. The results show overwhelming support for more stringent enforcement of road traffic laws (85% in favour), stiffer penalties for those caught speeding (80% in favour) and for a proportion of the money from fines to come locally for road safety initiatives and enforcement (88% in favour).
It comes after a spike in the number of people killed and seriously injured in Alison’s force area. A total of 63 people lost their lives in 2017, 12 more than in 2016 when 51 people were killed. In 2015 there were 36 road deaths. Hundreds more each year are seriously injured.
It is estimated that 96% of these deaths were down to human error.
“Far too many lives are being risked or ruined due to inconsiderate, dangerous drivers who have a blatant disregard for their own safety and that of others when they ignore the law,” Alison said.
“The results of this survey send a clear message that road safety is important to our communities and they want to see more rigorous enforcement of our traffic laws.
“All of the money generated by fixed penalty fines and other motoring offences goes to HM Treasury – not to the police, councils or highways authorities whose job it is to keep our roads safe. I don’t think this is fair.
“Also, the level of fixed penalty notice fines for some offences is out of kilter with the harm caused. The penalty for those caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving doubled to a £200 fine and six points last year, and the maximum fine for those admitting littering from a car rose to £150, yet the fixed penalty charge for speeding remains at £100 and three points.
“As Police and Crime Commissioner, I am calling for the fixed penalty fines for some traffic offences to be increased to act as a greater deterrent and, importantly, that this additional revenue is passed directly onto local road safety measures, with a priority given to enforcement.”
This survey was undertaken following a bigger piece of work where the PCC and her team spoke to more than 5,000 people at events over the summer where speeding ranked as a primary road safety concern.
A breakdown of the results from this survey can be found online here.