Ulster Unionist Member of the Policing Board Ross Hussey has said that the increased handing out of fixed penalty notices for traffic offences which drivers would previously have received a discretionary disposal for is a clear indication that breaking the law behind the wheel will not be tolerated.
The Ulster Unionist MLA said:
“In an answer to the Policing Board from Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd we have learned that from July to November last year the number of fixed penalty notices was over 6,000 compared to less than 1,000 discretionary disposals. That means for offences in which warnings may have previously been issued, motorists are now six times more likely to be hit with a fixed penalty notice. During the month of September, when the PSNI commenced their crackdown, only 62 discretionary disposals were issued compared to 1,515 fixed penalty notices.
“The number of deaths on our roads has almost doubled in the past two years, increasing from 48 people 2012 to 79 in 2014. Each and every one of these deaths were a personal tragedy and have left families all over Northern Ireland broken-hearted.
“I strongly support the efforts of the PSNI cracking down on road traffic offending. Over the past number of months they have been focusing on some of the major contributory factors to deaths on our roads including speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone.
“Unfortunately however despite numerous high profile campaigns, there are still hundreds of people being detected every month for using their mobile phones. These drivers must realise that a single momentary lapse in attention can result in a lifetime of suffering for any family affected by a fatal or life-changing collision.
“These penalties should come as a warning to all motorists that offending behind the wheel will not be tolerated.”