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Suitable punishment

Eternal_headwindEternal_headwind Posts: 221
edited June 2007 in Campaign
When a motorist is found to have driven in an unacceptable manner, I have always been in favour of a penalty that does not include a fine.

Once an element of fining exists, then fuel is added to the 'it's just a tax' arguement.

no doubt at some point someone will reach for a dictionary and start posting the definition of tax. This won't help improve road safety.

My personal preference is for a short term ban to take effect for each offence. It would work along the lines of this

1. Offence is committed (obviously), and driver identification takes place via the existing route.
2. Instead of a fine, the driver is informed that in a minimum of 28 days their car will be clamped. I like the clamp idea because it means that for the week a flourescent 'dangerous driver' logo will be displayed to the neighbours. Also there are a lot of clampers who need regulating.
3. 28 days should be enough to hear appeals or any other special circumstances.
4. At the end of the week the clamp is removed, with no charge.

For people who think a hire car is the answer, or any other means of obtaining another vehicle, then a high fine might be useful. It could help to finance the scheme.

The offender has paid nothing. Try to argue that this is anything other than an attempt to improve safety, and you shouldn't get too far.

For that week of no car, alternative transport (bike, bus, train) may be needed, and so may help the overall transport situation.

How do you feel about this? I am very keen to hear what the 'anti speed tax' lobby think. How would you like to be punished?

Posts

  • It's a good idea to get round the whole 'tax' argument, but I don't think it'll change the usual outspoken motorist's opinion that they are being victimised at every opportunity, i.e. the sterotypical 'beleaguered British motorist' beloved of every pro-motoring lobby group.

    This mindset seems pretty entrenched and I doubt it'll change until people start to realise just how debilitating (socially, economically, environmentally, physically and mentally) car ownership really is.

    Although it could be a good idea as part of a raft of other measures.
  • The BosscpThe Bosscp Posts: 647
    Sounds good in theory but just to play devils advocate:

    a) The clamped car may be a family car needed by other, innocent members of the family - it is unfair to penalise them.
    b) The motorist could still drive a mate's car / another of his own cars.
    i.e. (a) and (b) can be summed up by saying that it's invalid to draw a 1 to 1 relationship between drivers and cars. Sometimes it's n : 1 or 1 : n (or even n:n), where n >= 2.

    c) There would be difficulty implementing it because of the huge increase in the amount of people who "need" their car for their livelihood and that of others, e.g. to get to a charity kids day that they're going to run or something or even simply because there's no public transport in their tiny village.

    Obviously an answer to (a) and (c) which no doubt some people will take great pride in elaborating on is 'well they shouldn't have committed the offence in the first place then', but that doesn't stop bans being decided against / overturned currently when perhaps it should, so how a much greater throughput of bans for less serious offences is going to change this I don't know.
    The more people escape bans for reasons some people consider unfair 'because it's tough as they shouldn't have committed it in the first place if they've got livelihoods to support' (which would happen simply due to the greater total number of bans even if the proportion stayed the same), the more 'ridiculous miscarriages of justice' will find their way in to the Daily Mail and the more the whole system will be viewed as a sham.

    You <i>could</i> easily get round that by, as you say, giving them 28 days notice that their car is going to be clamped, but I'm not sure whether you've thought about this but if you give them 28 days notice, it gives them plenty of time to take the wheels off, or simply put it in a locked garage / hide it somewhere / all three.

    So, in short - great in theory, but you need to get rid of the perception of the legal system that people sometimes do have the 'right' to drive if they 'need' to do so for their job / other 'important' activities. Perhaps we do need to do this <i>anyway</i>, but it definitely would be a fundamental requirement for this to work.
    Other than that, though, it would be good - as it would cause inconvenience which would be more likely to teach a lesson than a financial penalty, and I completely agree with the need to escape the argument about it being 'a tax'. It would to me seem far more honest. I'm not sure I'd advocate bans for less than 10% exceedings of the speed limit though, that's just a bit harsh.



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  • Some very good points there.

    Firstly, I was fully aware of the relationship between car and driver not being a 1:1 ratio, and this is probably the biggest fly in the ointment. I don't really like the idea of giving a fine option because that brings back the tax argument, albeit to a lesser extent.

    The bit about hiding your car from the clampers isn't really that valid, since the motorist will then be guilty of a separate offence. Someone who fails to turn up to court isn't automatically considered not guilty.

    As for borrowing a friend's car / hire car or anything of that nature, simply allow the licensed clamping unit access to funds generated from the higher level fines. If I were in the clamper's shoes, I would then be tenpted to start offering rewards on successful prosecution. Ultimately though, the driver is still banned and would be treated as such if the try to drive.

    As for the perception of need, this is another difficult one. Perhaps this sort of method will allow some people to realise that they don't need the car as much as they thought.

    How draconian a law is administered is down to the government of the day, although I would say that since we already advocate the banning of certain motorists from driving what I am suggesting is not that radical. At the moment we wait for a motorist to commit a lot of offences until they get to 10 point, then give them a long ban. What I suggest is merely a shift to shorter suspensions.
  • domtylerdomtyler Posts: 2,648
    edited February 2011
    I don't like your suggestions at all I must say. Firstly, as has been pointed out, the perpetrator may not even own a car, he may have been driving a hire car or a friends/families car. Then there are the civil liberty implications. Are we going to post some kind of sign outside all offenders houses showing the crime they are guilty of? "Beware - Paedophile living under this roof" etc.

    Financial penalties work, of course people will whine and whinge when they get one, that just shows that they are working surely. License revocation, with the threat of a far more severe penalty if caught breaking the ban also works in the vast majority of cases. There is also community service that can be given to repeat offenders as well as internment for the most severe cases.

    So why do you feel that there is a need for what you're suggesting? I can't think of any good reasons for introducing new punishments when there are already proven ones available. The problem we have in this country is one of enforcement, the political will to crack down on bad driving just does not exist. The population of this country have been sold on the dream of private motoring and that will not change any time soon (just try watching any of the commercial TV networks during prime time tonight and check the ads, 9 out of 10 are for derivatives of the motoring industry (vehicles, insurance, recovery etc.)). I think there are the first signs of a backlash but reversing the policies of the past 70 years will not happen overnight.

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  • The BosscpThe Bosscp Posts: 647
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by domtyler</i>

    So why do you feel that there is a need for what you're suggesting? I can't think of any good reasons for introducing new punishments when there are already proven ones available. The problem we have in this country is one of enforcement, the political will to crack down on bad driving just does not exist. The population of this country have been sold on the dream of private motoring and that will not change any time soon (just try watching any of the commercial TV networks during prime time tonight and check the ads, 9 out of 10 are for derivatives of the motoring industry (vehicles, insurance, recovery etc.)). I think there are the first signs of a backlash but reversing the policies of the past 70 years will not happen overnight.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
    I personally agree with the civil libery implications, but I think EH has got a good idea. The fact is financial penalties are fixed, so therefore the disadvantage to people who are rich is hardly noticeable whereas to other people they're a lot more of a noticeable chunk out of your available expenditure. In other words (for the sake of argument let's assume we're dealing with offences of doing 38 in a 30 zone, for which a fine of œ60 would be issued), how much of a pain in the censored the punishment is more related to how flush the offender is, not how dangerous it actually was. The rich person may have done 38 outside a school, and will not notice the fine at all as œ60 is a drop in the ocean to him, but the hard-up single mum may have been going through an area with no hazards rushing to pick her kids up who now will have to go without shoes.
    The punishment shouldn't be a financial matter - at all - it should be a matter of being noticeably disadvantaged in order that you learn to not do it again, that is the point of punishment. However wealth is capable of cushioning the impact/noticeability of the disadvantage to different extents, and this degree of cushioning is in no way related to the crime or the seriousness of it.

    I think a ban for a short time, say a week is a good idea for (relatively) 'minor' motoring offences e.g. speeding, but it would require a lot of resource to implement properly - as clamping the car isn't really a viable way of doing it.
    The way I would do it is in the 28 days leading up to the ban, have some administration assistants working for the judicial service liasing with the offender to find out what their travel needs / arrangements are and make sure they've made plans of an alternative, as I'm sure a lot of people would plan to adhere to a ban but then just think 'oh sod it' and just jump in their car anyway. There would also need to be the promise of a few random spot-checks to ensure the person hadn't decided to do this, with ban-ignorers being made an example of.

    I will say that I also don't think insurance should be able to be put up because of an offence, i.e. it shouldn't be declarable to insurance companies, but let's not get bogged down in an argument about that.

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  • The BosscpThe Bosscp Posts: 647
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by domtyler</i>

    <b>So why do you feel that there is a need for what you're suggesting? I can't think of any good reasons for introducing new punishments when there are already proven ones available</b>. The problem we have in this country is one of enforcement, the political will to crack down on bad driving just does not exist. The population of this country have been sold on the dream of private motoring and that will not change any time soon (just try watching any of the commercial TV networks during prime time tonight and check the ads, 9 out of 10 are for derivatives of the motoring industry (vehicles, insurance, recovery etc.)). I think there are the first signs of a backlash but reversing the policies of the past 70 years will not happen overnight.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    I don't think the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' line really works here. It may be able to be proven in the sense that statisticians can say "there you go - less people speeding. Job done.", but they can't prove it in the sense that it will make EVERYONE who gets caught speeding actually think about it and never do it again.
    It's like having a fishing net with a big rip in it, and saying that as long as it catches at least some fish then it's obviously working and therefore there's no point replacing it.


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  • The financial penalty system has been proven. Proven to fail.

    It you find the clamp undesireable, then how about a simple short term license revoke? This is all aimed at the minor offender, so there isn't really a need to mention internment. I hope I have not given the wrong impression that the above system is acceptable for e.g. a drunk driver, because it is not.

    As for civil liberties, a lot could be posted regarding them. I am naturally disinclined to adopt the 'Alf Garnett' approach and start branding everyone. We also have to avoid the social abuse caused by mental detatchment. The driver speeds, anonymous paperwork is completed, cheque etc posted, endorsed license returns GOTO STEP 1.

    It is as if the driver wasn't even there. Although I am not glued to the above idea, I expressed it as a means of illustrating the driver has to interact with the legal decision. There is nothing like getting out of bed 1/2 hour ealier to stand in the rain for a bus to reinforce the concept the safety is taken seriously.

    The majority of motorists can take a œ60 hit without a massive change in lifestyle. It may be unpleasant but the motorist does get œ60 worth of ranting down the pub, which is the only sport we brits have ever shown true talent for.

    I am afraid that I have to agree to disagree with the view that current methods are effective
  • PringlecpPringlecp Posts: 771
    I remember seeing a tv report a while back (sorry can't find it on-line) where motorists caught speeding past a school were offered the choice of points and a fine or visiting the primary school to explain to the children why they were speeding past the school in the first place. IIRC the ones who opted to meet the children ended up saying that they felt the experience had a far more reaching effect than simply paying a fine.

    I think, in certain circumstances, a weekend out with an RTA investigation team followed by a couple of evenings observing in A&E would probably be a far more positive and educational punishment than a fine and points. - Just a thought!


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  • r800sportr800sport Posts: 9
    If it was down to me, I would have the following:

    1. Each point results in a set fine (say œ30 per point).
    2. If you get to six points, then you have to attend driver training (at your own expense). If you fail to attend the driver training, then your license is reduced to a provisional license for three months.
    3. If you get to nine points, then your license is reduced to a provisional and you have to re-take the test (at your own expense). Pass the test and you've got a full license again, fail it and you will have to apply again. You don't get a full license until you have passed the test again (even if it takes you the rest of your life). You also have to attend the driver training course.
    4. If you get to twelve points, then you lose your license, are banned for a set period and at the end of the ban you are only allowed a provisional license when you have passed psychometric evaluation. Before you can apply for the driving test, you have to attend the driver training course.

    I think this method would be more effective in dealing with the persistent offenders than the current methods.
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    For those who remember the Swiss parachuting vets......................

    There was a system in place where speeding motorists were offered remedial training instead of a fine or points.

    This was accepted, and then claims made that as they were now "trained" they should be able to speed with impunity as long as they applied the techniques of "safe driving" espoused on the course.

    I would agree with much of this, but with reservation as the points and licence removal already exist, but are actively undermined by some "road safety groups".

    Suggestions such as:

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Underage owner

    Register the vehicle in the name of a two year old child. We think this is perfectly legal, and they will not prosecute the two year old. Your can remain the owner, but be sure to inform the insurance company. <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Dead driver

    I heard suggested that on receiving the notice of intended prosecution you could pick a recently deceased person mentioned in the local paper and name them as the driver at the time.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Friend takes the points

    If you have a friend with a clean licence, they might agree to admit that they were driving and allow you to pay their fixed penalty notice and any (small!) motor insurance increases. This works even better if you have a relative who no longer drives. If you have a friend who never intends to drive, make sure they get a provisional licence to receive points for you. At the time of writing there are no insurance or other checks when a fixed penalty notice is paid.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Dealing with the myth of "taxation" is one thing, but there is a much wider attitude of accepting illegal and inconsiderate actions as acceptable in motoring offences that needs to be addressed as well.

    Personally I would like to see a position where proven bad driving - second ban or 20 points - sees a PERMANENT removal of the license on the grounds thatthe driver is either unwilling or incapable of driving to an acceptable standard.

    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • CretinCretin Posts: 266
    Unfortunately the estimated 10% of illegal vehicles on the road, and their occupants who neither care about road safety or about the law in general would make any such moves a laughing stock.

    And what's with 'motorist'? How about 'road user' - much fairer.
  • r800sport, you are pro-fines then? Whilst I readily accept this is better than doing nothing, you are still using the same technique and therefore are still subject to the same pros and cons.
    This driver training course, I assume it is taken in a small group? So this means the person has to sit in a group of other dangerous road users is therefore made to feel part of a cosy bunch? I don't know anything really about what sort of training is given but it does present the possibility of making the offender feel like they are on a 'going through the motions production line'. If anyone has actually been through the experience please clarify this.

    Cunobelin: I apologise for singling you out, but I feel you are going on a tangent. Although it is vital to consider all aspects of road safety, I feel you are focusing too much on premeditated abuse of the system. All of the quotes you gave are perfectly valid, rather horrible and need to be dealt with in a very firm manner. The sort of behaviour you describe is, to get to the point, so serious as to warrant separate and detailed discussion.
    I hoped that this thread would help us tackle the issues of general safety, speed and basic perception of responsibilities.

    In short, I would like to see an initiative where your average 40mph in a 30 zone or people of that kind who are not attempting to deceive the law are are corrected in a mannner that is not open to debate about alternative motivations.

    Win the tax argument, make errant drivers realise they will be taken out of their vehicles is they behave inappropriately.
  • Sh4rkyblokeSh4rkybloke Posts: 209
    Just a quick thought - but if the idea of fines doesn't seem to be suitable (i.e. the rich ones not noticing it) then why not fine as a % of earnings/benefits?

    Should hit all people equally hard then, shouldn't it?

    Whichever way you look at it it's an Administrative nightmare... how many times do we hear of people driving whilst banned?

    Nothing in life is foolproof, fools are ingenious

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  • CretinCretin Posts: 266
    Punishment should be proportionate to the seriousness of the offence, not the size of the offender's wallet.
  • Punishment should also be aimed at stopping repeat offences
  • The BosscpThe Bosscp Posts: 647
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Sh4rkybloke</i>

    Just a quick thought - but if the idea of fines doesn't seem to be suitable (i.e. the rich ones not noticing it) then why not fine as a % of earnings/benefits?<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
    Because that would make people think of it as a tax even more! Part of the battle is getting people to trust the government that they are actually trying to improve road safety, rather than raising money. Having 'proportional' fines would no doubt be seen as just a way of making even more money.
    Besides, it's communism - I mean why stop there, why not have the price of food in shops related to how much you earn.

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  • rothbookrothbook Posts: 943
    In Sweden, the police could not control the problem of speeding because wealthy violators would pay the fines and continue to speed. When legislators examined the problem, they realized that fines would not stop people unless the fine was proportionate to the income bracket of the person violating the law. Therefore, the government began basing fines on the income of the person speeding.

    The police have a database of income levels that are entered into a formula that involves a combination of income and severity of crime. Violations less than 12 mph over the limit mean a fixed fee in the $400-$600 range, but violations more than 12 mph above the limit kick the fine into a percentage of net income. In one example, a well-known hockey player was caught speeding on two occasions. In one case, he was going 14 mph over the speed limit and was fined $71,400; in the other case, he was fined $44,100.

    Fines, therefore, should be based on a formula that takes into account the financial capacity of the company violating the law. Fines are intended to make people think twice before breaking the law. If the fine is of no financial significance, paying it becomes an inconvenience, rather than a financial hardship. Unless there is true financial hardship, these indecency fines are nothing more than the cost of doing business, and violations will continue.

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  • Aside from any 'Das Kapital' quotes, The Boss has made a valid point. I would reiterate that this is a means of breaking the tax argument
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    Why pander to them anyway, whatever you choose it will only be a "victimisation" of the "otherwise law abiding motorist".

    If you are going to accept the ridiculous argument then you have to accept it totally....... i.e. ALL fines are taxation.

    A fine for drunk and disorderly is a tax on "otherwise law abiding drunks"
    A fine for GBH or assault is simply a tax on "otherwise law abiding thugs"
    A fine for theft or similar is simply a tax on "otherwise law abiding people"


    I am sure that all criminals from shoplifters to murderers are "law abiding" apart from that particular offence.







    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • JadedJaded Posts: 6,663
    Cunobelin, you forgot to mention the "otherwise law-abiding rapists".

    --
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  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    That was covered in another thread.....

    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • An extremist will always try to claim they are above the law. Your logic is simply that. Logic confined to a small space. A space so small it contains no real people or real situations.
    Rapists, Thugs and theives are rarely fined in exclusion of other punishments. Indeed, this is the strongest proof that your comment is flawed. A rapist tends to be incarcerated. A thief normally finds themselves in a similar position or doing community service if the offence is minor enough.

    The government recognises a real need to modify the behaviour of these people and at this point any mention of fines are given low priority.

    No law will have 100% success in eradicating the crime it is intended to tackle. There will always be people who try to circumvent the legislation. At the moment we have a situation where too many people nod knowingly when an offender launches into a speed tax diatribe. By marginalising the extremist we make them easier to control

    The other offender cases you mentioned exist only as a thought experiments in your own head. You may find newspaper articles discussing the way rapists are punished, but I openly challenge you to find a newspaper for sale in the UK that states rapists shouldn't be punished.

    Let me make this quite clear: Although I advocate the short ban system, I am fully in favour of road traffic offences being taken more seriously. And harshly for that matter.
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