3 Feb 2014

Doubts over traffic fine penalties

9:13 am on 3 February 2014

Questions have been raised about whether a new policy aimed at punishing motorists who rack up unpaid traffic fines will work.

From 17 February, people owing large sums will have their driver's licence seized if they do not pay in 14 days or set up a payment plan.

Licences will remain suspended until the fine is paid in full or a payment arrangement made. If they drive while the licence is suspended, they could be prosecuted or the vehicle seized for 28 days.

Courts Minister Chester Borrows said worst offenders will be targeted first, and younger drivers are over-represented in that group.

However, the editor of the car review website dogandlemon.com Clive Mathew-Wilson believes the policy is doomed to fail. He said studies show fines are ineffective when imposed on teenagers and poorer people because they often can't pay them.

The AA believes it's a good move, but driver education and road safety consultant Peter Shepperd says another stick-type approach won't succeed unless drivers are educated more about their responsibilities.