Since the New Year I have received several emails asking me to sign a petition regarding the government’s proposal to introduce road pricing, following reports that we will have to purchase a tracking device for our cars and then pay a monthly bill according to how much we use it, when and where. The Queens speech in November 2006 laid the foundations for pilot schemes to trial road charging within the next four or five years, with the possibility of the introduction of road charging proper being mooted within 10 years.
The BBC set up an experiment to monitor the driving habits of four motorists in an effort to calculate the potential size of any car charging they might encounter.
In a nutshell it revealed that a monthly bill was £28 for a rural florist. A non-working Mum using her car to take her children to school paid £86 in one month. It also quoted the cost of a tracker device as £200 – fine for 2007, but in 2014 they will probably be less than a fiver.
But what really annoys me about the whole tracker thing is who will have access to the information it gathers? The movements of my car will be continually monitored – where I park, the routes I take, how fast I travel.
Last year 13.5 million motorists had points put on their licence. A survey reveals that whilst 86% of motorists admit to occasionally breaking motoring laws, most drivers stressed their actions as a genuine mistake, claiming it was never their intention to break the law.
The most common offence admitted was for speeding, and driving through a red light. All these could be recorded by the tracker, resulting in more prosecutions, and penalty points.
You can find the petition here – at present 610,000 have signed it. Have a read and see what you think...