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Clause 34 - Penalty points

Part of Road Safety Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:00 pm on 28th March 2006.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Shadow Minister (Transport) 6:00 pm, 28th March 2006

I beg to move amendment No. 71, in clause 34, page 35, line 20, leave out ‘seven’ and insert ‘three’.

The clause enables the courts to offer offenders convicted of certain specified offences the opportunity to undertake a retraining course, which will give them a remission of penalty points. It inserts into the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 offences such as careless and inconsiderate driving, failure to comply with traffic signs and speeding. The opportunity to pay for and undertake retraining courses is offered where the driver is not to be disqualified but his licence is to be endorsed with penalty points. The retraining courses can be offered only when the offender has reached at least seven points and no more than 11. That is obvious; otherwise he would be disqualified.

We see what the Minister is driving at, but amendment No. 71 is designed to elicit from him why he has chosen seven penalty points as the starting point for a driver to apply for one of the retraining courses. We believe that they could be more specifically and successfully aimed at first-time or less serious   offenders, so that there is no progression. Indeed, as I understand it, some police forces offer the courses in the place of prosecution, aimed particularly at the lower end of the scale. [Interruption.] They cost between £100 and £135 and should be self-financing.