Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.

Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Monday, 19 August 2013


It can be argued that for much  low level offending the justice system can be truncated for the purpose simply  to punish and deter.  Rehabilitation and concern for any victim can safely be considered as inappropriate and unnecessary.  Into this category of offending can be included eg the offences of using a mobile phone whilst driving and driving without due care and attention. And to some extent the government seems to agree. I posted on this topic on August 13th.  Having had a few days to think more on this I am convinced that the reasoning behind this change of policy (with regard to driving without due care) and a general increase in some FPN tariffs   is simply to increase the “take” for the Treasury.  A driver using a mobile phone which might cost £200 - £500 is hardly gong to be persuaded to fit a hands free system or refrain from mobile use by increasing the FPN from £60 to £100.  A three point penalty on the driving license remains unchanged as it does for careless driving for which  the FPN fine is the same £100.  Convicted of careless driving after trial would cost an offender from half a week`s wages and 3 or 4 points on the license to three times that amount and up to 9 penalty points or disqualification.   

It seems as clear as day that if the government were truly in the business of promoting safer driving it would increase the number of penalty points for both those offences.  Of course the caveat to that is that the allocation of penalty points for various offences within a 12 point range might prove difficult.  The answer is simple. Increase the available points to 20 or even 24.  Penalty points could then be fixed more accurately to offence; eg five for mobile use and 6 for careless driving etc. etc.  Indeed the Spanish seem to have gone one better on the basis that the stick approach works better with a carrot at one end.  Rather than add points they subtract from a 12 pointer clean license when an offence is committed but add bonus points for those who have three years with  no offending. 

They might be seeing red over Gibralter but el espanol  are seeing very clearly about deterring dangerous drivers.

1 comment:

  1. Its never ceased to amaze me that people manage to tot up 12 points in 3 years. Neither my wife nor I are unusually cautious drivers, we may deviate from the speed limit and drive at the same speed as the rest of the traffic from time to time and I have even chanced the odd amber light in my time. Add to that the times my car has failed an MoT (and thus been unroadworthy for some days before) or the times I've spotted a bulb out and fixed it. Yet, touch wood, we've never picked up any points. If I add my close family and friends who's driving records I know - none have ever gained more than 3 points at any time.

    The financial part of the penalty is in many cases too small: £50/100 fixed penalty - I can't even fill the tank on my car for £50. And now £300 for no insurance - compare that to the cost of insurance for many and it doesn't make sense. I agree that the points system needs an overhall. Personally I would subtract one point each year (but not go below zero as they do in some places). The net effect for the average unlucky motorist is the same - but those who consistently break the rules would find they had to change their behaviour to avoid reaching 12. I'd also not wipe all the points from totters when they get their license back!

    Still at least in England and Wales you don't discount points like in Scotland... ...makes it very difficult to give our more than the minimum!