New careless driving penalty introduced in Northern Ireland
A new fixed penalty notice of £100 and three penalty points has been introduced to help tackle careless driving in Northern Ireland.
The new penalty has introduced by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) through secondary legislation using its powers under Article 57(2) of the Road Traffic Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1996.
According to official figures, 486 people were killed or seriously injured in 2021 as a result of collisions on Northern Ireland roads where the cause has been attributed to a careless driving causation factor.
The new fixed penalty will improve the administrative process for the existing careless driving offence by providing proportionate justice for low-level careless driving offences without the need for court proceedings, saving public money and time.
Drivers who commit more serious offences will continue to be dealt with before the courts and will be subject to substantial penalties.
New arrangements introduced yesterday will also allow the PSNI to offer remedial training to careless drivers as an alternative to the fixed penalty notice. Costs associated with the course will be met by the offender as an alternative to receiving penalty points and paying the fixed penalty notice fine.
Dr Chris Hughes, DfI director for road safety, said: “The introduction of a new fixed penalty for careless driving is an important intervention. It has the potential to make enforcement of this offence more effective and reduce the instances of careless driving in the future.
“It also sends a clear message to drivers that the risk of being caught and punished for a careless driving offence has now increased. A less bureaucratic system for lower-level offending means police can spend less time preparing case files for court and more time on the road observing driving behaviours.”
PSNI chief superintendent Sam Donaldson said: “We welcome the introduction of this new legislation which underlines our road safety messaging. Driving without care and attention is one of the most significant causes of the most serious collisions in which people are killed and seriously injured on our roads.
“Where appropriate, the new penalty will give drivers the opportunity to benefit from remedial training. The training will not only highlight the catastrophic impact that can result from careless driving, but critically, it will give drivers the opportunity to educate themselves and make our roads safer for everyone.”