The Government has announced proposals to reduce speed limits in areas of the country where there is a higher risk of accidents. The reductions from 30mph to 20mph in urban areas and 60mph to 50mph in the countryside are being considered.
The plans are part of a new strategy to reduce road deaths in England, Scotland and Wales by one-third by 2020. Road Safety Minister Mr Fitzpatrick said in a statement: "We've already made real improvements to the safety of our roads, there are now almost 17,000 fewer deaths or serious injuries in a year than there were in the mid-1990s, but it is intolerable that eight people are still dying on our roads each day.”
There are also plans to make major changes to the driver training and testing process, there will be a new section in the driving test where learners will be asked to drive without being directed by the examiner. Young learner drivers who opt to take a new pre-qualification course will be allowed to sit a shorter driving theory test.
Drivers also face random breath tests and tougher fixed penalties for offences such as passing too close to a cyclist. Police would be able to issue fixed penalties for careless driving. Offences such as failing to signal or passing too close to a cyclist, which currently would draw a verbal warning, could result in a £60 fine and three penalty points.
The Home Office would approve cameras that detect average speed, covering all exit and entry points to residential areas. The fixed penalty for driving 15mph over the limit would double to six points. The fine for failing to wear a seatbelt would double to £60. Drivers who fail to belt up could eventually be given three penalty points.