News Story 19. News Headlines.
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This Article was written by James Chapman: Deputy Political Editor... it was publish in Britain on 9th. March, 2006... by 'The Daily Mail'. 
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6 points on your licence for doing 45 in 30mph zone under new crackdown.
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Drivers could be banned after two speeding offences under a draconian shake-up of penalties that will be law within months.  Motorists caught doing 45mph in a 30mph zone will face a 100 fine and 6 points on their licence.  Under the 'totting-up' system, if they accumulate 12 points, they would lose their licences after two such offences.
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Ministers are introducing a sliding scale of punishments that will see those caught driving well over the limit facing tougher punishments.  Currently, almost all offences attract 3 points, regardless of by how much the limit is exceeded.  But the Government has decided that... *1. the 'punishment should fit the crime' and those who drive recklessly over the limit should face stricter penalties.  At the same time, those driving only slightly over the limit are expected to be treated more leniently, getting just 2 points.
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Road Safety campaigners welcomed the move, but critics said millions more drivers would lose their licences because of the 'indiscriminate' nature of speed camera traps.  The Road Safety Bill introduces variable fixed penalties for speeding, changing the range of penalty points from 3 to 6... to 2 to 6, depending on the severity of the offence.
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The lowest penalty will be 2 points on the licence and a 40 fine.  A medium range penalty... for example, for drivers doing 40-44mph in a 30mph zone... will be 3 points and a 60 fine.  *2. A higher penalty for faster speeders will mean 6 points on the licence and a 100 fine. 
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It is expected to apply to those driving at...
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32mph+ in a 20mph zone...
45mph+ in a 30mph zone...
57mph+ in a 40mph zone...
70mph+ in a 50mph zone...
82mph+ in a 60mph zone...
94mph+ in a 70mph zone.
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Ministers will launch a consultation before confirming the bands.  Transport Secretary Alistair Darling told the Commons: 'Whatever view you care to take,*3. speed cameras are saving lives and reducing speed.  We need to do more to make sure the punishment fits the crime.'  As well as paving the way for flexible speeding fines, the legislation will increase penalties for a wide range of driving offences.
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In cases of drink-driving, a single roadside breath test will be enough for prosecution.  Officers will no longer have to take a second reading at a police station.  Offenders disqualified for 24 months or more... those with the highest levels of blood alcohol... will be forced to retake their driving tests.
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Courts will be given the power to force the worst drink-drivers to have an 'alcolock' fitted to their car... an in-car breathalyser will stop the vehicle moving if they are over the limit.   Careless driving will incur a maximum fine of 5,000 rather than 2,500.  Drivers using a vehicle in a dangerous condition will be disqualified from driving for a second offence.
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Failing to give police the identity of a driver will incur 6 points on a licence... up from 3.  Fines for children not wearing seatbelts will be standardised... with a 500 fine for front and rear.  Currently the fine is 200 for the rear and 500 for the front.  Drivers caught using hand-held mobile phones also face tougher penalties.
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They will get 3 points on their licence and be fined 60.  Four offences, therefore, will almost certainly mean drivers losing their licence under the 'totting up' system.  Remaining paper driving licences will be recalled, probably by 2008, and replaced with photographic ones.  For the first time, foreign drivers face having their vehicles clamped if they commit traffic offences in Britain.
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Tony Vickers, of the Association of British Drivers, expressed concern about the new regime for speeding offences.  'This would make sense if it was police traffic officers making judgements about the nature of speeding offences,' he said.  'The problem is it will not be them in most cases, but speed cameras operating indiscriminately.  They measure only speed and not the degree of danger that an activity causes'.
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'The last thing we would condone would be people driving recklessly at speeds where lives were threatened.  But we could envisage circumstances where somebody travelling at 90mph on an empty motorway in the early hours of the morning in clear visibility would be liable for 6 points, when the fact is it's very unlikely they threatened anybody's lives or even their own.  At the same time, someone driving slightly over a 30mph zone past a school might receive only 2 point, although they put more people at risk.'
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In the Commons, Owen Paterson for the Tories said a million drivers already had 6 or more points on their licences and could be banned with one further offence.  He told MPs: 'These are on the whole very law-abiding, hardworking people trying to go about their daily business.  *4. There's a real risk we are losing the hearts and minds of drivers when actually we want to get their co-operation in order to improve road safety.'
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The Tories also dismissed as 'inadequate' a proposed *5. 100 penalty for being caught with an uninsured car.  Transport spokesman Chris Grayling said the Bill was a 'patchwork of measures' rather than a strategy for real improvement.
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During the debate on the Road Safety Bill, both transport minister Stephen Ladyman and Tory Mr Paterson admitted they *6. use a device in their cars to detect fixed speed cameras.  Dr Ladyman said the devices, which use satellite technology, were 'perfectly legal'.
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Comments.  Just a few quick comments about their latest strategy... as yet again... New Labour gets it wrong at every turn!
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*1. The 'punishment should fit the crime'.>>  Clearly the punishment will not fit the 'crime' if you rely so heavily on speed cameras.  Someone driving at 30mph past a school at 4 in the afternoon... with rain... parked vehicles... children crossing the road... etc. might be creating a very dangerous situation but receive no ticket at all.  Someone driving past doing 45... at 4 in the morning... with nobody about... creating no danger... could get 6 points.  
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*2. A higher penalty for faster speeders... [up from 60 to 100.]>>  It is a well establish fact that increasing fines does not act as a deterrent... changing from 60 to 100 will achieve nothing: [it is the perception of getting caught that makes the difference.]  And the fines are clearly not in proportion when you change from 3 points for doing 44 in a 30mph zone... to 6 points for doing 45. [See Table.]
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*3. Speed cameras are saving lives and reducing speed.>>  Despite all the dubious statistics the Government produce... there is no proof that speed cameras save lives.  As for 'reducing speed'!?! what kind of improvement is this to the Transport System?  Traffic is now slower than it use to be!  [Article: Speed Cameras: life savers or cash cows?]
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*4. There's a real risk we are losing the hearts and minds of drivers when actually we want to get their co-operation in order to improve road safety.'>>  The whole point of this website!  In many cases... hearts and minds have already been lost.  If you want peoples' support and co-operation then you need to engage them in a pro-active way... rather than continuing with such arbitrary punishment.
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*5. 100 penalty for being caught with an uninsured car.>>  In the area where the Government need to get really tough... they fail miserably.  A 100 fine is no deterrent at all when Insurance can cost 300... 600... 1,000 or more.  Illegal drivers are the worse offenders and they continually slip through the net.  The Government target the law-abiding majority because they can just pass a law... issue the fines... and rake in the cash.  With the law-breakers they have to get out on the streets and physically stop them.
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*6. Use a device in their cars to detect fixed speed cameras.>>  And if you think there is a chance you could get caught out by one of these devices you should take steps to protect yourself.  There are now a whole range of products with different capabilities.  Check out the following links and find out more.
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