|Road Safety Bill [HL] - continued||House of Commons|
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Clause 15: Experimental period for clause 14
59. 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: Retro-reflective markings
60. This clause inserts a new section 80A into the Road Traffic Act 1988. It enables the Secretary of State to require the fitting of retro-reflective tape complying with UN-ECE Regulation 104 to outline the rear and side of specified categories of newly-registered goods vehicles and trailers, by means of regulations through a Statutory Instrument.
Clause 17: Penalty points
61. Clause 17 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).
62. The amendments to be made by clause 17 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 18: Speed assessment equipment detection devices
63. Clause 18 amends section 41 of 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.
64. 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 19: Exemptions from speed limits
65. Clause 19 substitutes a new section 87 of the RTRA. Section 87 currently provides that vehicles being used for fire and rescue authority, 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.
66. Paragraph 42 of Schedule 4 to the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 amends section 87 of the RTRA so as to add the Serious Organised Crime Agency to the purposes for which vehicles may be exempt from speed limits and introduces a requirement that drivers of such vehicles must be trained in driving vehicles at high speeds. At the time of writing these Explanatory Notes the amendment to section 87 of the RTRA made by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 has not yet been brought into force.
67. The substituted section 87 contained in clause 19 enables the Secretary of State to prescribe, by regulations, other purposes (in addition to those relating to fire and rescue authority purposes or for or in connection with the exercise of any function of a relevant authority as defined in section 6 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, for ambulance purposes or for police or Serious Organised Crime Agency purposes) for which vehicles may be exempt from speed limits.
68. The new section provides that the exemption from speed limits does not apply unless the vehicle is being driven by a person who has satisfactorily completed a course of training in the driving of vehicles at high speed provided in accordance with regulations under the new section, or is driving the vehicle as part of such a course.
69. Subsection (3) of the new section enables regulations to be made about courses of training in the driving of vehicles at high speed. These may include, amongst other things, provision about the nature of courses and provision for the approval by the Secretary of State of persons providing courses or giving instruction on courses. For those drivers who have already received appropriate training, paragraph (g) of subsection (4) of the new section provides that regulations may include provision treating courses of training in the driving of vehicles at high speed which have been completed before the coming into force of the regulations as if they have been provided in accordance with the regulations.
Clause 20: Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving
70. Subsection (1) of this clause inserts new section 2B in the RTA, which makes provision for a new criminal offence of causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving.
71. Subsection (2)(a) amends section 24(1) of the RTOA to provide that conviction of an offence under section 2B may be an alternative verdict where a charge under section 1 RTA (causing death by dangerous driving) has been unsuccessful.
72. Subsection (2)(b) amends section 24(1) RTOA to provide that conviction of an offence under section 3 RTA (careless, and inconsiderate, driving) may be an alternative verdict to conviction of an offence under section 2B.
73. Subsection (2)(c) amends section 24(1) RTOA to provide that conviction of an offence under section 2B may be an alternative verdict to conviction of an offence under section 3A (causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs).
74. Subsection (3) provides for sections 11 and 12(1) RTOA to apply to the offence under section 2B. Section 11 provides a mechanism for proving who was driving the car whereby this is certified by a constable. Section 12(1) relates to proving the identity of a driver in summary proceedings whereby the accused has stated in writing that he was the driver.
75. Subsection (4) creates an entry in Schedule 2 to the RTOA, making provision for the section 2B offence to be triable either way and setting out the maximum penalties available on summary conviction (the statutory maximum) and on indictment (5 years or a fine or both). It also sets out that the offence will be subject to mandatory disqualification and endorsement and sets the range of penalty points available for this offence (3-11).
76. Subsection (5) adds section 2B to sections 16 and 17 of the Coroners Act 1988 to provide for the adjournment of inquests in the event of criminal proceedings.
77. Subsection (6) adds section 2B to Schedule 3 to the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 to provide that the Secretary of State may inform the authorities of a third country state where one of that state's nationals is disqualified from driving as a consequence of that offence.
Clause 21: Causing death by driving: unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured drivers
78. Subsection (1) of this clause inserts new section 3ZB in the RTA, which makes provision for a new offence committed where a person causes a death by driving and is, at the time of that act, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, whilst disqualified or without insurance.
79. Subsection (2) provides for sections 11 and 12(1) RTOA to apply to the offence under section 3ZB. Section 11 provides a mechanism for proving who was driving the car whereby this is certified by a constable. Section 12(1) relates to proving the identity of a driver in summary proceedings whereby the accused has stated in writing that he was the driver.
80. Subsection (3) creates an entry in Schedule 2 to the RTOA, making provision for the section 3ZB offence to be triable either way and setting out the maximum penalties available on summary conviction (12 months in England and Wales/6 months in Scotland, or the statutory maximum, or both) and on indictment (2 years or a fine or both). It also sets out that the offence will be subject to mandatory disqualification and endorsement and sets the range of penalty points available for this offence (3-11).
81. Subsection (4) adds section 3ZB to sections 16 and 17 of the Coroners Act 1988 to provide for the adjournment of inquests in the event of criminal proceedings.
82. Subsection (5) adds section 3ZB to Schedule 3 to the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 to provide that the Secretary of State may inform the authorities of a third country state where one of that state's nationals is disqualified from driving as a consequence of that offence.
Clause 22 and Schedule 4: Offence of keeping a vehicle which does not meet insurance requirements and New Schedule 2A to the Road Traffic Act 1988
83. These provisions provide for a new scheme intended to combat uninsured driving.
84. Clause 22 inserts new sections 144A, 144B, 144C, 144D and 159A into the RTA and makes a number of consequential amendments to the RTOA. Schedule 4 inserts a new schedule - Schedule 2A to the RTA.
85. Section 143 of the RTA makes it an offence to use a vehicle on a road or other public place without a policy of insurance or security against third party liability as required by Part 6 of the RTA. The new scheme will create a new offence of being the registered keeper of a vehicle the use of which is not insured against third party liability as required by Part 6 of the RTA. It will therefore be possible to detect the new offence from records of registered keepers held by DVLA and insurance records.
86. Section 144A creates the new offence which arises when a vehicle does not meet the insurance requirements. Under the insurance requirements the registration mark of a vehicle, or the vehicle's owner, must be specified in an insurance policy or security. There are a number of exceptions to the offence set out in the new section 144B. Some of these are similar to the exceptions in section 144 of the RTA which apply to the section 143 offence of using a vehicle without insurance. They include vehicles owned by local authorities, the police and the National Health Service. Other exceptions may apply where the vehicle is no longer kept by the registered keeper; it is not kept for use on a road or other public place or has been stolen. The exceptions apply only if a prior statement (such as a statutory off-road "SORN" declaration) has been made to the appropriate authorities as required by regulations.
87. Under the new section 144C the Secretary of State can serve a fixed penalty notice on a person whom he believes has committed an offence under section 144A. The amount of fixed penalty is £100 which is variable by statutory instrument.
88. Section 144D introduces the new Schedule 2A. Under this Schedule the Secretary of State can make regulations which enable an authorised person to clamp vehicles upon reasonable suspicion that a section 144A offence has been committed and to enable the removal and disposal of such vehicles, including the time and manner in which such vehicles may be disposed of. Regulations may exempt a vehicle with a current disabled person's badge, or which meets other prescribed conditions, from being clamped. The Regulations may enable a person to obtain release of a clamped or an impounded vehicle if he or she pays any due charges and can show (a) that in driving the vehicle away he or she will not be committing an offence under section 143 of the RTA and (b) that the registered keeper is not guilty of an offence under the new section 144A. If the vehicle has already been disposed of, the regulations may provide for a sum to be paid to the vehicle's owner provided the claim is made within a prescribed period.
89. Regulations may also make it a criminal offence to interfere with a clamp or associated notice, use a vehicle in breach of statutory requirements in connection with disabled persons or give any false declaration to secure release of a vehicle.
90. Section 159A enables regulations to be made which require the Motor Insurers' Information Centre to provide information to prescribed persons. This information, together with records held by DVLA, will enable identification of registered keepers committing the offence under section 144A. The information can also be used for enforcement of other offences under Part 6 of the RTA (Third Party Liabilities) or offences made under regulations under section 160 of that Act, including those relating to immobilisation and release of vehicles provided for in the new Schedule 2A.
91. Finally, clause 22 makes consequential amendments to the RTOA in connection with the new offence in section 144A and the offences which may be created by regulations
Increases in penalties
Clause 23: Careless, and inconsiderate, driving
92. Clause 23 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 24: Breach of requirements relating to children and seat belts
93. 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 25: Using vehicle in dangerous condition etc
94. 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 26: Breach of requirements as to control of vehicle, mobile telephones etc
95. 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 27: Power of police to stop vehicle
96. This clause amends column (4) of Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the RTOA to increase the penalty available for an offence under section 163 of the RTA (failure to stop a mechanically propelled vehicle when required to do so by a constable) from a fine of level 3 on the standard scale (£1,000) to level 5 (£5,000). The penalty in relation to cycles is unaffected.
97. This clause also amends column (2) of that Schedule to replace the word "motor" with "mechanically propelled", in order to reflect the fact that in the Road Traffic Act 1991 the section 163 offence was amended to refer to "mechanically propelled vehicle".
Clause 28: Furious driving
98. This clause amends Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the RTOA to add an entry for the offence under section 35 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 (furious driving). That offence is subject to discretionary disqualification. The clause provides for the offence to be subject to mandatory endorsement where the offence is committed in relation to a mechanically propelled vehicle and sets the range of penalty points available for this offence (3-9).
Clause 29: Breach of duty to give information as to identity of driver etc
99. 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.
Other Provisions about offences
Clause 30: Meaning of driving without due care and attention
100. This clause inserts new section 3ZA in the RTA. Subsection (1) of the new section provides that it applies to section 2B (causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving), section 3 (careless, and inconsiderate, driving) and 3A (causing death by careless driving when under influence of drink or drugs).
101. Subsection (2) makes provision about the meaning of the phrase "without due care and attention" so that it is clear that this means driving in a way that falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.
102. Subsection (3) provides that in determining what would be expected of a careful and competent driver, regard shall be had not only to what he could be expected to be aware of, but also to any circumstances shown to have been within the knowledge of the accused.
103. Subsection (4) provides further definition of the phrase "without reasonable consideration" so it is clear that this means driving in a way that inconveniences other people.
Clause 31: Extension of offence in section 3A of Road Traffic Act 1988
104. Subsection (2) of this clause extends the offence in section 3A RTA (causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs etc) to allow for a person whose blood has been taken under section 7A (specimens of blood taken from persons incapable of consenting) to be prosecuted for the section 3A offence where, without reasonable excuse, that person does not (when he is later able to) consent to his blood being subjected to a laboratory test.
105. The effect of subsection (3) of this clause is that a prosecution for the section 3A offence on the basis of a refusal of consent under section 7A would only be possible where the offence was committed with a motor vehicle, as opposed to any other kind of mechanically propelled vehicle. This is consistent with the limitation already in subsection (3) of section 3A of the RTA.
106. Subsection (4) amends section 24(1) RTOA to provide that conviction of an offence under section 7A(6) (failing to give permission for laboratory test) may be an alternative verdict to conviction of an offence under section 3A.
Clause 32: Alternative verdict on culpable homicide prosecution
107. This clause amends section 23 of the RTOA. The effect is that conviction of an offence listed in new subsection (1A) will be available as an alternative verdict where a prosecution for culpable homicide has been unsuccessful. This clause applies only to Scotland.
Clause 33: Alternative verdict on unsuccessful manslaughter prosecution
108. This clause amends section 24 of the RTOA. The effect is that conviction of an offence listed in new subsection (A2) will be available as an alternative verdict where a prosecution for manslaughter in connection with the driving of a mechanically propelled vehicle has been unsuccessful.
Attendance on courses
Clause 34: Penalty points
109. 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 conviction. Where a person successfully completes a course within ten months of the date of the order, twelve months after 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 RTOA (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).)
110. 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.
111. 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.
112. Provision is made for approval of courses by the Secretary of State or, as respects Wales, the National Assembly for Wales and, as with courses for drink drive rehabilitation, this covers guidance and arrangements for appeal to the Transport Tribunal for an applicant whose approval is denied or withdrawn. The retraining courses provided under new sections 30A, 30B, 30C and 30D of the RTOA are entirely separate from the Driver Improvement Scheme and Speed Awareness Courses, which are at the discretion of the police without any court involvement.
Clause 35: Reduced disqualification period for attendance on course
113. This clause substitutes sections 34A, 34B and 34C of the RTOA and inserts a new section 34BA.
114. 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 also 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.
115. 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 provider's 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.
116. New section 34BA provides for the approval of courses by the Secretary of State, or, as respects Wales, the National Assembly for 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.
117. 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 previous training course would make the offender ineligible for a course under section 34A.
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