Speeding motorists are to pay for enforcement measures including digital speed cameras via a £25 hike in the cost of driver education courses.
The courses, which provide an alternative to a £100 fine and three penalty points for drivers caught speeding, using a mobile phone while driving or running a red light, will increase in cost from £70 to £95 from Saturday, March 1.
The increase will fully fund the Lancashire Partnership for Road Safety’s (LPfRS) speed enforcement activity, meaning offenders will be footing the bill, rather than taxpayers through Lancashire County Council and police budgets.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki, chairman of the LPfRS executive board, said: “We feel in the current financial climate and with the difficulties all agencies face, it is right to reduce costs to local taxpayers and ensure local budgets are used for other local services.
“I must stress that only motorists who have committed an offence, either through speeding or unsafe driving of their vehicle will pay.
Reducing the number of people who are killed and injured on our roads is one of our main priorities.
“While we carry out enforcement activity across the county on a daily basis, we would also say that education, and ultimately prevention, is key to making our roads safer.
“We are pleased we are able to continue running these courses which help to change driver attitudes and behaviour, ultimately helping to reduce the number of people killed and injured on our roads.
“We don’t expect that motorists will opt to pay a fine, as the cost of taking the course is still less than the fixed penalty notice and will also mean the motorist doesn’t receive three penalty points on their licence.
“We will monitor the course take-up rates though, as we want to educate as many motorists as possible in order to change their driving behaviour and increase road safety.”
In 2013, 32,718 motorists attended a driver education course in Lancashire as an alternative to prosecution.
The courses generated £1.1m, which was spent on part funding the LPfRS and road safety initiatives.
The current cost of camera enforcement and all of the associated office processing, including police-issued tickets, is £1.25m.
Chief Con Debicki said: “We intend to use the money generated from these courses to cover these costs.
“The amount we generate in future years is dependent on the number of motorists who attend such courses.
“After the above costs have been met and based on previous years, we estimate around £500,000 will be generated.
“This surplus is required and ring-fenced to fund further road safety initiatives, which includes reinvestment into digital technology, which is essential to continue to conduct speed enforcement to reduce casualties.”
The courses include:
• Speed Awareness - classroom based interactive workshops for speeding motorists, which last four hours
• Driving 4 Change - practical on-road sessions delivered by advanced driving instructors for offences like failing to comply with a no entry or stop sign, which last two hours and 15 minutes
• What’s Driving Us - classroom based sessions offered to motorists committing offences like using mobile phones while driving and running red traffic lights, which last three hours and 15 minutes
• RIDE - classroom based interactive sessions for motorcyclists who ride in a careless or inconsiderate manner, or whose riding behaviour is considered anti-social, which last seven hours
Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “The decision to increase the cost of these courses was not taken lightly, but it seems only right that those drivers who put others in danger by speeding should be the ones to fund enforcement, as opposed to local taxpayers.
“Educating Lancashire’s drivers is vital if we are to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads, and these courses play a vital role in that.”
County Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We’ve worked closely with the police over many years to successfully reduce deaths and injuries on our roads, and education courses give our trainers an opportunity to positively influence the behaviour of drivers, most of whom won’t have received any training since they passed their test.
“It’s right that we look to those who have committed an offence to meet the cost of speed enforcement, rather than place further burden on local taxpayers to subsidise their offences.”