The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Forthcoming Attractions

The Road Safety Act has now received the Royal Assent, and will come into force a bit at a time over the next year or so. My thanks to the nice people at the Magistrates’ Association who have researched it. Unfortunately it is on a members-only passworded bit of the site, so here are the main changes:-

A new offence of Causing Death by Careless or Inconsiderate Driving. Maximum penalty 5 years’ prison. I have blogged about this, and the Magistrates’ Association and many lawyers are seriously concerned that it will lead to injustice and set nasty precedents. Will doctors be next, for example?
Roadside Evidential Breath Tests: Will obviate the need to take the driver to the police station. The new machines are very expensive so introduction will be slow.
Compulsory re-testing for repeat offenders: applies to second-time drink drivers.
Trial of Alcohol-ignition interlocks: will allow the court to order that for the second part of a ban (after at least a year) the offender may drive but only in a car fitted with a built-in breath tester that will lock out the engine if he is over a quarter of the present limit (i.e 9ug/100ml).
High-Risk Offenders: medical rules are being tightened and doctors’ evidence will be required before a licence is issued.
Speeding Points: will now be graduated from 2 to 6. Very high speeds will still result in a court appearance and likely ban.
Camera Detectors and Jammers: will be banned, other than GPS-based systems.
Section 172 offences of failing to nominate the driver will now carry 6 points, so there is no benefit to a driver whose speed was up in the 6 point range refusing to name the driver and thus get away with only 3 points.
Careless Driving: Maximum fine doubled to £5000.
Use of Mobile Phone: Now endorsable with 3 points
Dangerous Condition: A second offence within 3 years will carry a minimum 6-month ban.
Children’s Seat Belts: Now applies to rear seats as well as front.
Graduated Fixed Penalties for Goods Vehicles: What it says. Can be given by VOSA staff as well as police.
Retraining Courses: Will become available for careless driving and speeding, with a discount on points or ban for those who take them.
Foreign Drivers: Will have to pay a deposit of £300 against a fine or costs before being allowed to proceed.
Driving Licences: Paper licences will be withdrawn.

That’s just a quick outline of the main changes – there’s a lot more stuff that I have skipped over. It will mean training for magistrates, but we can cope with that