Luton Council gains right to fine motorists for traffic offences

Luton Council can fine motorists for offences in pedestrian zones under new powers to issue penalty charge notices.
Council officials can now fine motorists for traffic offencesCouncil officials can now fine motorists for traffic offences
Council officials can now fine motorists for traffic offences

The council was granted permission from the Government for the authority to fine motorists in January this year. They are one of 12 councils so far to take up the powers.

That’s according to information obtained through a new Freedom of Information request by Confused.com.

The Penalty Notice Charges (PCN) have previously only been the responsibility of the police. Fines for these offences typically cost up to £70 outside London, and up to £130 in London, but are halved if paid within 14 days. For councils who’ve been granted powers, they can now also issue a PCN. These fines range from £20 for lower level penalties that are paid quickly, up to £105 for late payment of higher level penalties.

If motorists find themselves with a fine for any of these, they could appeal if they think it’s been issued unfairly or incorrectly. Confused.com’s challenge checklist can help motorists work out what to do if they feel that they need to appeal a PCN.

Further research by Confused.com reveals that some motorists are concerned about some of the local authorities’ intentions. More than 1 in 4 (28%) say that traffic offences should be left to the police. And almost half (47%) of drivers are worried that councils are using this opportunity to make money, rather than focusing on improving road safety.

But according to the government, the changes are to ensure more drivers are following traffic rules and not breaking the law.

The research also found that 1 in 5 (20%) drivers have been penalised for a moving traffic offence in the past.

Louise Thomas, Confused.com car insurance expert, said: “As councils in England are granted powers to issue fines for moving traffic offences, the hope is that road safety will improve, and police force workloads will be supported.

“But in order to improve road safety, councils will be monitoring moving traffic offences with a close lens.

“Our research found that more than 1 in 4 (26%) motorists are driving more carefully than usual to avoid these fines.

“But, if motorists do face a fine that they think is unfair, our checklist to challenge a fine can help to guide them through the appeals process.”

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