It's official: the government have firmly hopped on the anti-driver bandwagon, with more legal discrimination against motorists being proposed. This time it is slashing reclaimed costs for motorists who successfully challenge speeding and other driving penalties in court.
The new proposal has sparked a Downing Street petition, which has already attracted support from over 2,000 protestors, many of whom will have no doubt experienced the pangs of an unjust penalty charge. Indeed, the figures support the complaints that some driving penalties are undeserved. Currently around 400,000 motorists successfully win in court against motoring penalties. This figure equates to about 1 in 4 motorists who challenge their penalties.
With a quarter of drivers being successful, something is surely amiss with the motoring penalty system. Yet instead of addressing these legitimate claims the government wishes to financially punish drivers who are acquitted. Those who suffer the most will of course be individuals of modest means, as they will be forced to accept unjust penalties because they cannot afford the legal bills. Meanwhile the government firmly cement arbitrary and unjust motoring penalties as a means to raise revenue.
The fact that this proposal is a blatant example of legal discrimination is reinforced by the petition being backed by many within the legal world. 15 QCs, the Bar Council, the Criminal Bar Council, the Health and Safety Lawyers Association, and the London Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association have all signed the petition. Every driver should have a fair opportunity to clear their names if they feel they have been hit by an unjust penalty. This opportunity should not just be given to those who can afford to foot high legal bills.
It is clear that drivers are the losers here. They will not only be at risk from unjust motoring penalties (as shown by the high number of motorists who successfully challenge these penalties in court), they are also placed in a position of serious disadvantage within the legal system.