Buckinghamshire Council gains new powers to improve road safety
Buckinghamshire Council is one of a handful of local authorities in England to have been granted powers to enforce Moving Traffic Offences (MTOs).
Moving Traffic Offences are actions taken by drivers that are in direct violation of the rules of the road. Examples include driving through a no entry sign, making banned turns, entering a yellow box junction when the exit isn’t clear and driving on routes that are for buses and taxis only.
Previously, outside of London, the powers to enforce these restrictions fell only to the police. Following a change in the law which allowed local authorities to apply for powers to enforce MTOs, Buckinghamshire Council consulted on whether people would like to see it take on these powers and as a result applied for the powers to enforce them. The council was now been told by the Government that it was successful in its application.
The new powers will enforce areas where existing restrictions are already in place. The council is in the process of procuring ANPR (Automatic Number Place Recognition) camera systems to be located in 14 identified locations around the county. It is expected these will be installed and ready to use from December.
Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport said: “The granting of these new powers is great news for residents and all road users in Bucks. Moving Traffic Orders are put in place where there is a need to enforce the rules of the road to motorists. They are designed to keep traffic moving and keep both other motorists and pedestrians safer. It’s important for people to realise, it’s not about trying to catch people out on purpose and raising money for council coffers, it’s about keeping everyone safe and reinforcing the rules of the road.
Steven continued: “Enforcing MTOs has many additional benefits for our environment which we are also keen to achieve in line with our climate change strategy. Better flowing traffic leads to less air pollution and safer roads can encourage people to switch to more sustainable forms of transport including cycling or using public transport over their own car which has multiple benefits for everyone.”
During the first six months, motorists caught contravening the rules will be sent a warning letter for their first offence. If they are caught again they will receive a fixed penalty charge notice (PCN). After the initial six months, all offenders will be subject to a PCN. Funds generated from fixed penalty notices will be restricted for use only for specific measures including highway repairs, public transport provision and other environmental projects.
The ANPR cameras will be mobile allowing them to be moved to new locations once enforcement within an area has been carried out and driver behaviour has adapted to abide by the restrictions. Signage will be erected in well in advance of cameras being installed to give drivers plenty of notice of the enforcement powers.