Surge in driving fines called for

Drivers who cause minor accidents are "getting away with it" and should face fixed penalty fines, according to a report by the Department for Transport (DfT).

A consultation paper from the DfT suggests the police should be given the power to issue fixed penalties for careless driving to stop drivers simply swapping insurance details after minor collisions.

According to the Telegraph the new proposals would see people who eat, drink or smoke at the wheel, read a map, tune a radio or argue with a passenger, all face a £60 fine and a three-point penalty.

The paper apparently raises concerns over a fall in the number of people prosecuted for careless driving. Figures show 107,600 motorists were convicted in 1986, but only 25,400 were in 2006. This has been blamed on the amount of paperwork required to prosecute drivers.

Drivers groups have said the time-saving initiative for police could be used as a means of raising money for the Treasury.

But a spokesman for the Department for Transport defended the proposals.

He said: "Making careless driving a fixed penalty offence will help the police to enforce against bad drivers who admit fault with a minimum of bureaucracy, freeing up police resources."

Copyright © Press Association 2008