[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Road penalties 'must fit offence'
Police officer with speed gun
Motoring offence laws are being reviewed
The Automobile Association has called for a better understanding of the criminal laws that govern driving.

The motoring organisation is concerned the law does not reflect the variety of circumstances under which crashes causing death or injury can occur.

It wants more consideration of the difference between cautious drivers who have made a one-off error, and those who are intentionally reckless.

The Home Office says it is reviewing laws regarding motoring offences.

The AA says some drivers convicted of serious offences are walking free from court, while drivers at the other end of the scale are sent to prison.

It says the laws, last reviewed 20 years ago, are inadequate and have failed to deal fairly with the majority of motoring offences.

We're talking about perception, people's ability to distinguish between different levels of offence
Luke Bosdet, AA

AA spokesman Luke Bosdet said: "There needs to be a greater understanding of the difference between those people who make a mistake and injure or kill someone on the roads, and those who are totally reckless.

"We're talking about perception, people's ability to distinguish between different levels of offence.

"What happens to the person who normally is a perfectly responsible driver who makes a mistake that ends in tragedy, as opposed to the driver who does not give two hoots, who drives uninsured, under the influence of drink and drugs," Mr Bosdet said.

'Mistake'

Jean Robinson's father was killed on a pedestrian crossing, by a driver who said he had been blinded by the sun and did not see the red light.

She asked the Crown Prosecution Service not to charge the driver - who was not speeding at the time of the accident - for causing death by dangerous driving, as this would have meant an automatic prison sentence.

"This guy... wasn't under the influence of drink or drugs, he just made a mistake.

"On the roads these days, you can make mistakes and mistakes in a car can have disastrous consequences," Mrs Robinson told BBC Five Live.

Middle ground needed

After a three-day jury trial, the driver was found guilty of driving without due care and attention and fined 1000.

"I suppose that was the best option. I don't see any purpose would have been served by sending him to prison," she said.

"But it did seem like a kick in the stomach to have such a low fine."

She said a middle ground - between prison and a low fine - was needed, including the possibility of safe driving lessons.

"Just fining someone or putting them in prison doesn't change their driving at all. They could come out and do the same thing again."




SEE ALSO:
Concern over French motoring laws
05 Feb 04  |  Politics


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific