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Driving: The True Cost - Tonight

Driving: The True Cost is on ITV at 7:30PM on Thursday 18th October. Photo: Photo: ITV / Tonight

Up to twelve million motorists receive a penalty notice each year, amounting to one billion pounds of revenue. It equates to a fine being issued every 2.5 seconds. Are motorists in Britain treated fairly? Tonight reporter Fiona Foster investigates the true cost of driving.

Fishergate bus lane in Preston has netted close to a million pounds from motorist fines in a year. Lancashire County Council introduced the bus lane to make the centre of town more attractive and safer, and reduce pollution. They say that the revenue generated by the bus lane is used to improve highways, and that they are not there to make money out of motorists. But councillor Yousuf Motala has objected to the bus lane from the start, and has a different opinion on the money raised.

Councillor Yousuf Motala reckons motorists have good reason to complain. Credit: Photo: ITV / Tonight

“I do believe that drivers are being used as cash cows. Every authority is struggling up and down the country. It’s getting to that stage where they just haven’t got the resources to be able to deliver some of the key services.”

– Councillor Yousuf Motala

The level of speed fines hit a six-year high last year, with more than two million drivers affected. Numbers of traffic police on our roads has fallen by nearly 30% in the last decade, and 9 in 10 speeding offences are now caught by cameras rather than police officers. Are cameras successful in making our roads safer? Defence lawyer Nick Freeman is not convinced.

Nick Freeman believes the issue lies with bad drivers rather than speeding. Credit: Photo: ITV / Tonight

“All forms of bad driving are not detected now. We need to have police back on the roads so that they can observe, they will be a deterrent and they also would have a discretion.”

– Nick Freeman

Maybe fellow motorists hold the answer. Dash cam owners can now help the police to combat dangerous driving through evidence they capture on the roads. 2.6 million motorists now own dashcams, and that is expected to double in the next couple of years. A website now exists where drivers can upload footage of dangerous drivers, for the police to take action. More than half of Britain’s police forces have signed up so far. West Mercia Police was one of the first forces to embrace the scheme.

Supt. Paul Moxley believes more drivers are taking risks due to the decline in traffic police. Credit: Photo: ITV / Tonight

“So far we've had 550 pieces of footage from individual members of the public. Which we're really grateful for, and about 50% of those had ended up in the individuals going to court. The others have been warned or have received a visit from a police officer, or a warning letter”.

– Supt. Paul Moxley

Pauline Fielding has dedicated her life to road safety after losing her son in a road collision 24 years ago. She has been campaigning ever since for the council to introduce traffic lights or a roundabout at the junction where he died. The speed limit has been reduced from 60 to 40 miles per hour, and Pauline has now got principle got the support of the local council for a new set of traffic lights. But at the moment, like plenty of other Local Authorities, it doesn’t have the budget to fund them.

A group of volunteers in South East England have formed a Community Speedwatch to make their roads safer. Credit: Photo: ITV / Tonight

“More money needs to be spent on making our roads safe. There are lots of things that need to be done. I don't want the same thing to have to happen to other people as has happened to us”.

– Pauline Fielding

Driving: The Trust Cost will be on ITV on Thursday 18th October at 7:30pm.

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