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Clause 15: Experimental period for clause 14
57. This clause provides for an experimental period for the alcohol ignition interlock programme described in clause 14. The experiment may continue until the end of 2010 but the Secretary of State may specify a later date by order. He may also terminate the restrictions specified for the experimental period. The clause provides for the Secretary of State to designate certain court areas for the purpose of the experiment. During the experimental period the programme would not be offered to persons convicted under Section 3A of the RTA (causing death by careless driving when under influence of drink or drugs).
Clause 16: Penalty points
58. Clause 16 amends Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the RTOA with respect to the entry relating to section 17(4) of the RTRA (traffic regulation on special roads) and the entry relating to section 89(1) of that Act (speeding offences other than those on special roads), so as to change the entry in column 7 (penalty points).
59. The amendments to be made by clause 16 will extend the range of penalty points which may be given in respect of these two speeding offences from "3-6 or 3 (fixed penalty)" to "2-6 or appropriate penalty points (fixed penalty)". This will increase the range of penalty points available and provide for a more graduated arrangement of fixed penalties in respect of these two speeding offences.
Clause 17: Speed assessment equipment detection devices
60. Clause 17 amends section 41 of the RTA ("the RTA"). Section 41(1) of the RTA is an enabling provision empowering the Secretary of State to "make regulations generally as to the use of motor vehicles and trailers on roads, their construction and equipment and the conditions under which they may be so used". The amendment means that it will be possible to prohibit a vehicle being fitted with, or a person using a vehicle carrying "speed assessment equipment detection devices" by means of regulations under section 41 of the RTA. The amendment defines a "speed assessment equipment detection device" as "a device, the purpose, or one of the purposes, of which is to detect, or interfere with the operation of equipment used to assess the speed of motor vehicles". The precise subset of the devices which will be prohibited will be identified in the regulations made under section 41 of the RTA but it is not intended to include in the prohibition those devices that only contain information about camera site locations.
61. A person who breaches a speed assessment equipment detection device requirement shall be guilty of an offence and liable to the same penalty as if they had been convicted of exceeding a prescribed speed limit, which means that the financial penalties will be higher if the offence is committed on a special road.
Clause 18: Exemptions from speed limits
62. Clause 18 amends section 87 of the RTRA. Section 87 provides that vehicles being used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes are not subject to any statutory provision imposing a speed limit if observance of the limit would be likely to hinder their use for the purpose for which they are being used on that occasion.
63. The amendment made by clause 18 enables the Secretary of State to prescribe, by regulations, other purposes, in addition to those relating to fire brigade, ambulance and police purposes, for which vehicles may be exempt from speed limits. The amendment will also enable training for any of the purposes (fire, ambulance or police purposes or any prescribed purposes) to be exempt from speed limits. The amendment also means that it will now be a requirement for all cases of exemptions from speed limits that the drivers of such vehicles must be trained in driving vehicles at high speeds.
Increases in penalties
Clause 19: Careless, and inconsiderate, driving
64. Clause 19 amends Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the RTOA (prosecution and punishment of offences: offences under the Traffic Acts) so as to increase the maximum fine for an offence under section 3 of the RTA from Level 4 on the standard scale (£2,500) to level 5 (£5,000).
Clause 20: Breach of requirements relating to children and seat belts
65. This clause amends Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the RTOA so as to increase the punishment for an offence under section 15(4) of the RTA (driving a motor vehicle in contravention of requirements relating to seat belts where children in rear seat) from level 1 on the standard scale (£200) to level 2 (£500). This amendment means that the penalty on conviction for a seat belt wearing offence in respect of a child sitting in a rear seat will be the same as that in respect of a child occupying a front seat.
Clause 21: Using vehicle in dangerous condition etc
66. This clause amends Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the RTOA to provide for obligatory disqualification of a person convicted of using a vehicle in a dangerous condition contrary to section 40A of the RTA if the offence is committed within three years of a previous conviction for the same offence.
Clause 22: Breach of requirements as to control of vehicle, mobile telephones etc
67. This clause inserts a new section 41D in the RTA, and amends the RTOA, to provide for obligatory endorsement (with disqualification at the court's discretion) for the offence of contravening or failing to comply with a construction and use requirement if the requirement relates either to failure to have proper control of the vehicle or a full view of the road or to the use of a hand-held mobile phone or similar device. A "construction and use requirement" is a requirement imposed by a regulation made under section 41 of the RTA (most of which are contained in the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (S.I. 1986/1078) as amended.
Clause 23: Breach of duty to give information as to identity of driver etc
68. This clause amends Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the RTOA by raising from 3 to 6 the maximum number of penalty points which can be imposed for the offence of failing to provide information about the identity of a driver.
Attendance on courses
Clause 24: Penalty points
69. This clause inserts in the RTOA new sections 30A,30B,30C and 30D. These have the effect of enabling courts to offer persons convicted of the offences of careless, and inconsiderate driving, failing to comply with traffic signs or speeding, the opportunity to pay for and undertake a retraining course in certain circumstances where the driver is not to be disqualified but is to have his licence endorsed with penalty points. The circumstances are that there should be at least 7 and no more than 11 points to be taken into account at the time of sentence. Upon successful completion of a course within ten months of the date of the order 3 points (or fewer if the court endorsed fewer) relating to the conviction will cease to be taken into consideration under section 29 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (penalty points to be taken into account on conviction). Effectively this would mean that the points were no longer to be considered for the purposes of the "totting-up" provisions of section 35 of the RTOA. (Where the total number of points on the licence is 12 or more the licence holder is liable to disqualification under section 35 of the RTOA (disqualification for repeated offences).)
70. The option will not be available to any person who has committed one of the offences mentioned above in the previous three years and successfully completed an approved course pursuant to an order under section 30A or 34A of the RTOA on conviction of the offence, nor to a person who committed the offence during his probationary period under the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995. However the Secretary of State may by regulations change this three year period and may change the minimum number of points to be taken into account for an offender to be eligible for a course.
71. Other provisions in new section 30A include provisions similar to those contained in section 34A of the RTOA in requiring that the court must be satisfied that a place is available on a course before making an order, must explain, orally or in writing and in ordinary language, the effect of the order to the offender and that the offender must agree to it. New section 30B deals with certificates of completion similarly to section 34B.
72. Provision is made for approval of courses by the Secretary of State or, as respects Wales, the National Assembly for Wales and this covers guidance and arrangements for appeal to the Transport Tribunal for an applicant whose approval is denied or withdrawn.
Clause 25: Reduced disqualification period for attendance on course
73. This clause substitutes sections 34A, 34B and 34C of the RTOA and inserts a new section 34BA.
74. The amended versions of these sections extend the principle of the Drink Drive Rehabilitation scheme to certain other offences. Courts will have the power to offer offenders the opportunity to pay for and undertake a retraining course, successful completion of which will reduce the period of the offender's disqualification by an amount specified in the court order. In addition to those for whom this option is currently available, it will be available for those persons who are disqualified for 12 months or more on conviction of failing to allow a specimen to be subjected to a laboratory test in the course of an investigation into certain offences, careless, and inconsiderate driving, failing to comply with traffic signs or speeding. The option will not be available to any person who has committed one of the offences mentioned in the clause in the previous three years and successfully completed an approved course pursuant to an order under section 34A or 30A of the RTOA on conviction of the offence, nor to a person who is within his probationary period under the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995.
75. The effect of the substituted provisions also means that the court in which the conviction is heard will administer the case (the "supervising court"). If the offender appeals against a course providers decision not to give a certificate of completion of a course or seeks a declaration that the course provider is in default, he may apply to either the supervising court or a relevant local court in the area in which the offender resides. This replaces the previous system whereby in all cases where the offender lived outside the petty sessional division area of the court where the conviction was heard, a supervising court was appointed in the petty sessional division area in which the offender resided or was about to reside.
76. New section 34BA provides for the approval of courses by the Secretary of State, as respects England, or the National Assembly for Wales, as respects Wales. It includes a regulatory regime to monitor, grant approval and withdraw approval from course providers and courses. It also provides for appeal to the Transport Tribunal for an applicant whose approval is denied or withdrawn.
77. The Secretary of State may vary by regulations those specified offences in respect of training course orders that may be made under section 34A. The Secretary of State may also vary by regulations the minimum period for which a person must be disqualified to be eligible for such an order, the minimum reduction in the disqualification period, the fraction of the disqualification period that may be the reduction, and the period over which a previous conviction and successful completion of a training previous course would make the offender ineligible for a course under section 34A.
Clause 26: Driving tests
78. This clause amends sections 89 (driving tests) and 91 (repayment of test fees) of the RTA.
79. Subsection (2) amends section 89(3)(regulations about nature of tests) so as to allow the Secretary of State to provide, by regulations, for more flexible arrangements for driving schools and candidates to book, cancel and re-arrange test appointments. It also allows the Secretary of State, again by regulations, to require the driving test candidate to surrender his licence to the examiner in prescribed circumstances (for example, if it does not pass the necessary security checks).
80. Subsection (3) amends section 89(4) so as to enable the Secretary of State, by regulation, to require inspection and certification of prescribed test vehicles. (An inspection and certification process is needed to evidence compliance with the weight requirements for large goods vehicles and large trailers used for driving tests set out in Commission Directive 2000/56/EC). Subsection (3) also reformulates the fees provision contained in section 89(4)(b) so as to enable the Secretary of State, by regulation, to charge a reasonable fee for or in connection with the test (for example, the review of theory test results) and for any inspection of a vehicle which may be required by regulations.
81. Subsection (4) amends section 89(5) by omitting paragraph (b), the contents of which are now dealt with in new subsection (5A).
82. Subsection (5) inserts new subsection (5A) into section 89. This provides that regulation-making provisions in section 89(3)(b) may permit the Secretary of State to supply certificates evidencing the results of driving tests to persons authorised to conduct such tests and to charge reasonable fees in respect of the exercise of any functions conferred or imposed on the Secretary of State by regulations made under section 89(3)(b).
83. Subsection (6) amends section 91 so as to provide for partial refunds of fees for driving tests.
Clause 27: Disqualification until test is passed
84. This clause amends section 36 of the RTOA (disqualification until test is passed) by substituting a new version of the definition of "appropriate driving test". The new definition will enable the Secretary of State to prescribe by regulations when the appropriate driving test is an extended test. The clause amends section 88(2)(b) so as to require the Secretary of State to consult with such representative organisations as he thinks fit before making regulations under this section. It also amends section 173(2) of the RTA (forgery of documents etc.) to include reference to documents produced as evidence of the passing of a test for the purposes of section 36 of the RTOA.
Clause 28: Granting of full licence
85. Subsection (1) of this clause amends section 89(1)of the RTA (licence not to be granted unless conditions satisfied) so as to allow the Secretary of State to prescribe the period within which, or time at which, a person applying for a licence must have passed the relevant driving test.
86. Subsection (2) of this clause inserts a new subsection (1ZA) into section 97 of the RTA (grant of licences). The new subsection permits the Secretary of State, by regulations, to grant a licence subject to prescribed conditions that are effective for a prescribed period or until the happening of a prescribed event.
87. Subsection (3) of this clause extends section 98(1)(c) of the RTA (provisional licence to specify conditions subject to which it is granted) so as to enable the Secretary of State to specify any conditions subject to which full licences are granted.
88. The power to impose conditions on licences would be used, for example, in relation to a driver who had previously been disqualified from driving for a drink driving offence, but had agreed to a court order allowing him to participate in an alcohol ignition interlock programme (as provided for by Clause 14). The condition would require the driver to drive only in accordance with the alcohol ignition interlock programme.
Clause 29: Compulsory surrender of old-form licences
89. Clause 29 inserts a new section 98A into the RTA. This new section contains an order making power that provides for the compulsory surrender of old-form driving licences.
90. Although the first licences to be surrendered are likely to be paper ones a recall of first generation photocard format driving licences may be necessary in the future. The clause therefore provides that an order made under this new section may specify as to the description of licences to be surrendered:
91. The order to be made under the new section will provide that a new licence must be granted to every holder of a licence surrendered. A fee may be charged for the issue of the replacement licences.
92. The order will provide that anyone failing, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any requirement imposed by the order to surrender a licence and its counterpart will be guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction with a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (£1,000). Driving entitlement will continue until the date on which the original licence would have expired had it not been surrendered.
Clause 30: Fee for renewal of photocard licence and issue of certain alternative licences
93. Subsection (1) of clause 30 amends subsection (7) of section 99 of the RTA and inserts a new sub section (7ZA) into that section that will enable the Secretary of State to charge such fee as may be prescribed for the renewal of a photocard licence in pursuance of subsection (2A). Subsection (2A) of section 99 of the RTA requires a photocard licence to be renewed every ten years. Section 99(7) currently specifies that photocard driving licences granted after the ten year renewal period set out in subsection (2A) must be issued free of charge.
94. Subsection (2) of clause 30 amends subsection (2)(c) and (3) of section 117A (Disqualification on revocation of licence) of the RTA. The amendments relate to the holder of a LGV (large goods vehicle) Community licence or PCV (passenger-carrying vehicle) Community licence who is normally resident in Great Britain. The amendments mean that where the Secretary of State has ordered a holder of a LGV Community licence or PCV Community licence to be disqualified from driving certain vehicles, he may now charge such fee as may be prescribed for the issue of a British licence authorising him to drive other vehicles for which he is not disqualified.
95. A GB licence holder is already required to pay a fee for a licence authorising him to drive other vehicles for which he is not disqualified and so this amendment will remove the anomaly which currently exists between GB licence holders and resident Community licence holders.
Clause 31: Driving training
96. Subsection (1) of this clause inserts a new paragraph into section 99ZC(1) of the RTA (driver training courses). Section 99ZC is a regulation-making power and the new paragraph will enable the Secretary of State, by regulations, to make available information about persons providing driver training courses.
97. Subsection (2) amends section 173(2) (ff) of the RTA (forgery of documents etc.) so that it refers to certificates relating to the wider range of driver training courses.
Clause 32: Driving instruction
98. Clause 32 introduces Schedule 4 which amends the law relating to driving instruction.
99. Paid instruction in the driving of motor cars is regulated by Part V of the RTA ("motor car" being defined in section 141A, a provision which is replaced by a new provision in the Bill). Schedule 4 amends the provisions of that Part in a number of ways, by substituting new provisions for existing ones, inserting new sections and amending existing provisions. The changes are set out in more detail below.
100. Paragraph 2 substitutes new provisions for section 123 as follows:
New section 123: Requirement of registration
101. Subsection (1) provides that driving instructors have to be registered if they give paid instruction of any prescribed description. This enables the existing provision regarding paid driving instruction in the driving of motor cars to be extended, by regulation, to other motor vehicle types in addition to motor cars, for example, driving instruction in respect of lorries, buses and motorcycles. The clause furthermore extends the current registration requirement by requiring not only those persons who give paid instruction but also those who carry on a business of providing (such as franchise operations) paid driving instruction of a prescribed description, to be registered. "Driving instruction" is accordingly given a wider meaning by subsection (3) and subsections (5) and (6) make provision about what "paid instruction" means.
102. Subsection (2) sets out the requirement for all persons giving paid driving instruction or carrying on business in the provision of paid driving instruction to display evidence of their registration as required by regulation e.g. in a classroom.
103. Subsection (4) provides that regulations prescribing a description of driving instruction may describe it by reference to the class of motor vehicle (for example, bus or lorry), the person to whom the instruction is given (for example, provisional or full licence holder) and the nature of the instruction or where and how it is given (for example, on or off-road). Currently only instruction given in a motor car is caught by the provisions of Part V of the RTA.
New section 123A: paid driving instruction - offences
104. Subsection (1) makes it an offence to give driving instruction in contravention of section 123 and also provides that employers and franchisors commit an offence where driving instruction is given in contravention of section 123 by their employees or franchisees. Subsection (3) provides a defence for persons able to prove that they did not know and had no reasonable cause to believe that they were not registered or, in the case of employers and franchisors, that the person giving instruction was not registered. Subsection (2) makes it an offence to carry on business in the provision of driving instruction in contravention of section 123.
105. Subsection (4) makes it an offence to contravene section123(2) of the RTA (to provide paid driving instruction or carry on business in the provision of paid driving instruction without meeting the requirements regarding the display of evidence of registration).
106. Paragraph 3 substitutes a new section 124 (exemption of police instructors) making provision for exemptions from the requirement of registration.
107. Paragraph 4 substitutes new provisions for section 125 (register of approved instructors) enabling the Secretary of State, by regulation, to establish and maintain a register for the purposes of Part V of the RTA.
108. Paragraph 5 inserts a new section 125ZA (conditions of registration) as follows.
109. Subsection (1) provides that the Registrar must register a person who applies to be registered in respect of a description of driving instruction if he satisfies the Registrar that conditions prescribed under the subsection (for example, conditions requiring the persons to have passed certain examinations) are fulfilled.
110. Subsection (3) provides that a person may be registered subject to fulfilling conditions prescribed under the subsection for so long as he continues to be registered and subsection (7) provides that regulations may include provision to exempt persons from any condition in prescribed circumstances.
111. Paragraph 6 amends section 125A (registration of disabled persons). Subsections (2) to (5) of section 125 and section 125ZA of the RTA do not apply to disabled instructors and these amendments to section 125A ensure that the provisions relating to the registration of disabled persons are in line with the amendments made by new section 125 (register) and new section 125ZA (conditions of registration).
112. Paragraph 7 amends section 125B (provisions supplementary to section 125A). It provides that regulations may make provision for prescribed persons to be exempt from the holding of a current emergency control certificate (as in existing section 125B(3)).
113. Paragraph 8 substitutes a new section 126 (duration of registration). Where a person whose registration has been terminated applies under section 125 of the RTA to be registered again he is required to show again that he fulfils such of the conditions prescribed under section 125ZA(1) as may be prescribed or, if a registered disabled instructor, such of the conditions prescribed under 125A(5) as may be prescribed.
114. Paragraph 9 amends section 127 (extension of duration of registration), substituting new subsections (1) to (4). It provides that the continued registration of a person by virtue of an extension under this section may be made subject to the conditions mentioned in section 125A in the case of a registered disabled instructor and in any other case the conditions mentioned in section 125ZA.
115. Paragraph 10 substitutes new provisions for the current section 128 (removal of names from the register):
116. New section 128 (termination of registration by Registrar) sets out the Registrar's powers to terminate a person's registration if he is satisfied that any relevant prescribed condition has not been complied with. (A "prescribed condition" means a condition mentioned in section 125ZA or 125A and is a "relevant prescribed condition" if regulations provide that a failure to fulfil the condition is a ground for termination of the person's registration: see subsection (2).) There are provisions as to the giving of notice to the person concerned and a requirement that the Registrar must take into account any representations made by that person before exercising his powers.
117. Paragraph 11 inserts a new section 128A (power to give direction as to further applications) into Part V. This empowers the Registrar to impose a rehabilitation period (i.e. a period during which no further application for registration will be considered) thereby preventing persons whose registration has been terminated from making futile applications for re-registration or an extension of an existing registration.
118. Paragraphs 12 and 14. Paragraph 12 removes sections 129 and 130 (licences for giving instruction so as to obtain practical experience) from Part V of the RTA. Under the current law, a person may obtain a licence to give instruction prior to applying for full registration, licences lasting for 6 months subject to a limited right of renewal. This system has proved unsatisfactory as a means of training driving instructors. Instead regulations under section 124 will make provision for persons training to be driving instructors to be exempt from the requirements to be registered. There are also to be new arrangements as to examinations and training.
119. These are contained in paragraph 14 which makes major changes to the training and examination systems. It replaces the current sections 132 (examinations) and 133 (review of examinations ) of the RTA and inserts a new section 133ZA (training), to make the system more flexible.
120. New section 132 (examinations) contains revised powers enabling the Secretary of State to make regulations with respect to:
121. New section 133 (review of examinations) provides for a person to apply to a Magistrates Court (or in Scotland the sheriff) to determine whether a relevant instructor examination or part of such examination was properly conducted.
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|Prepared: 30 November 2004