First Time Offenders To Escape Punishment

Mon 14th Sep 2020

A new raft of laws aimed at handing additional powers to local councils could include a bonus for drivers who make a first time offence.

Under the Government’s ‘Gear Change’ initiative, local authorities will be allowed to fine drivers for a range of road penalties, including those they catch stopping in box junctions. It is likely to rake in millions for councils across the UK, however, it is not all one way traffic as the same councils will have to ensure that their traffic signage is up to scratch and according to Boris Johnson, those who make a first offence will be given a warning.

“We will issue guidance to local authorities... including the importance of ensuring the need for traffic signing to be properly designed and placed, so that it is clear to drivers what restrictions are in force,” the Prime Minister announced.

“We propose that motorists be issued with a warning for a first offence, and fines for subsequent offences.”

Motoring campaigners have pushed for years to have the first time offence wiped-off, with the Department for Transport promising to bring the rule in way back in 2008. And with many minor traffic offences the result of visiting drivers being on unfamiliar roads, the rule will be welcomed.

“After more than a decade of draconian bus lane enforcement in which hundreds of thousands of unwitting drivers have been caught and fined, the Government has restored some fairness,” said Luke Bosdet from the AA.

“The majority of drivers caught by bus lane and other moving traffic enforcement are people who are unfamiliar with those roads. Warning first-time offenders is a very fair solution, reserving the big stick for repeat offenders.”