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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, 13:21 GMT
New variable speed fines planned
Yellow roadside speed camera
Graduated speeding fines could please motoring groups
Flexible speeding fines and a fresh crackdown on the use of mobiles in cars feature in the Queen's Speech.

There will be changes to the law on careless driving as well as mandatory retesting of persistent drink drivers.

Road safety measures are also accompanied by plans for a Railways Bill to shake up the train system.

There will be a bill to establish the framework for the construction of London's long-awaited east-west Crossrail project.

Many of the measures in the Road Safety Bill - aimed at meeting targets to reduce road deaths - had already been widely trailed.

The penalty for using a mobile phone is likely to rise from 30 to 60 with three licence endorsement points included in the penalty.

The move comes as the RAC released figures suggesting use of mobile phones by drivers had actually increased since the ban was introduced.

As well as careless and inconsiderate driving, the bill will also tackle drink driving, with the worst offenders getting mandatory re-testing.

A loophole allowing those likely to reoffend to continue driving while medical evidence is processed will be closed.

Different fines for speeding offences will also be introduced, a move welcomed by motorists' groups.

The RAC said it was important to distinguish between those travelling a couple of miles over the speed limit in a non-residential area away from schools and other dangers, and those travelling at high speeds or in sensitive areas.

Other measures include clear guidance on how fast emergency vehicles can travel, more retraining courses for bad drivers and allowing police better use of motor insurance information.

The Railways Bill will bring in the already-announced scrapping of the Strategic Rail Authority and the transfer of some duties to the Department of Transport.

It will also facilitate the shifting of responsibility for safety from the Health and Safety Executive to the Office for Rail Regulation.

The number of train operating companies, already reduced from 25 to 19 since privatisation, will drop further, perhaps to 15 or 16.

The Queen's Speech 2004






Pomp and pageantry


Watch the speech
MPs debate the speech


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