Part of the reason for the drop in size of fines (News, 8 June) can be explained by the sentencing policy operated by the courts. The level of fine is determined by several factors including:

  • The nature of the offence
  • The ability of the offender to pay
  • Whether he pleads guilty to the offence or not.
  • In many cases, offenders are on benefit and this greatly reduces the size of the fine the court can impose. An early guilty plea will reduce the fine further and then he is usually offered the option to pay at £10 a week. At this stage, any unpaid fines for other offences are declared and the total is consolidated.

    Often, at the end of the day, the court is left wondering if it has imposed any penalty at all.

    On the positive side, the reduction in size of fine may be due to the fact that police are now targeting the hard core "can't pay won't pay" brigade of uninsured driver, as opposed to the driver who has simply forgotten to renew or who has stupidly borrowed a car without checking for the existence of insurance.

    It would be interesting to see some demographic analysis of uninsured driving convictions.

    Roy Rodger JP
    Insurance Training & Consultancy