THE brakes have been put on plans to bring in fixed penalty notices for a string of minor traffic offences.
Infrastructure Minister David Cretney MHK was forced to withdraw the Road Traffic Regulation order in Tynwald after some members voiced concern that, far from dealing only with minor offences, a number of infringements covered were actually very serious.
Zac Hall (Onchan) cited the example of furious driving, an offence which he pointed out actually pre-dates the internal combustion engine.
‘This is a serious offence,’ he said. ‘It is effectively hand-in-hand with dangerous driving. I would urge the minister to go away and review it. It is totally inappropriate.’
Leonard Singer (Ramsey) agreed: ‘About 30 offences are listed but in my view 12 are too serious to be dismissed as minor offences. Furious driving is clearly not a minor offence. Careless and inconsiderate driving – I don’t consider that a minor offence. Driving while under age – the department can’t be serious!’
Speaker Steve Rodan said that, given the ‘serious concerns’, the whole matter should be referred to the Tynwald environment and infrastructure policy review committee.
Former detective Dudley Butt MLC challenged the reasons behind the order. He said that for lesser infringements, it was a much better policy to caution drivers rather than issue fixed penalty fines which he said would alienate motorists straight away – and by not being reported, there would be no deterrent to others.
Mr Cretney said there had been some misunderstanding by members but he would take the matter back and give it further consideration.
The minister said fixed penalties would reduce costs and bureaucracy but he stressed more serious breaches would still be dealt with by the courts.