Government to set up Traffic Courts

In a bid to free up time for more serious cases, the government has announced that low-level road traffic offences, such as speeding and jumping traffic lights are to be dealt with in special traffic courts which are to be established around the country.

The government has revealed that there are around half a million summary motoring cases heard every year including speeding, traffic light and document offences. Although relatively minor, nevertheless they can often take longer from offence to completion than much more serious cases. Ministers want to set up traffic courts to reduce delays as part of a wider plan to improve Britain’s criminal justice system.

Launching the proposals, justice minister Damian Green said:

“Enforcing traffic laws is hugely important for road safety, and saving lives. However these cases take nearly six months on average from offence to completion, despite the fact that over 90 per cent of cases result in a guilty plea or are proved in absence – this is simply unacceptable.

“The justice system must respond more quickly and effectively to the needs of victims, witnesses and local communities and these dedicated courts will enable magistrates to better organise their work and drive greater efficiency.”

The plans form part of the Criminal Justice Strategy and Action Plan. The aim for traffic offences is by April 2014 to have delivered:

  • A centralised traffic court in each police area,
  • Maximum use of postal requisitions,
  • Maximum use of Live Links in court,
  • Digital cases files for all traffic proceedings.

It is likely that the courts will be used for dealing with offences such as:

  • Driving licence related offences,
  • Lighting offences,
  • Load offences,
  • Miscellaneous motoring offences (including trailer offences),
  • Motorway offences (other than speeding),
  • Neglect of pedestrian rights,
  • Neglect of traffic directions,
  • Noise offences,
  • Obstruction, waiting and parking offences,
  • Offences particular to motorcycles,
  • Speed limit offences,
  • Vehicle insurance offences,
  • Vehicle test offences, and
  • Vehicles or parts in dangerous or defective condition.

If you would like more information regarding the issues raised in this article, you may be interested in reading our Road Traffic service page. Alternatively, you can contact us directly to talk through specific concerns.


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