SPANISH STICK CARROT AND POLICE CARIt 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 FPN tariffs is simply to increase the “take” for the Treasury. A driver using a mobile phone which might cost £200 - £500 is hardly going 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 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 of 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.