Minor traffic offences to be heard by new courts in England and Wales

Traffic Trials of the new courts have been successful, police say

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Dedicated traffic courts are to be set up in England and Wales to prosecute minor motoring offences following a pilot scheme in nine areas.

The move is part of a drive to cut delays in the criminal justice system and free up magistrates' courts to deal with more serious cases.

Each year, 500,000 minor motoring offences go through the courts.

Ministers say such cases clog up the courts, which should be dealing with more serious offences.

Dedicated traffic courts have been piloted in Essex, Hampshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Metropolitan Police, Nottinghamshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and West Yorkshire and police have said they had successfully "simplified" the legal process.

The plan is to open a traffic court in every police area by April 2014, and to use specialist prosecutors to deal with up to a 160 cases a day.

'Swift justice'

Cases they could hear include speeding, traffic light offences and those relating to insurance and driving licences.

The new courts will only have jurisdiction in the 90% of cases where motorists admit their guilt; if they contest the offence, it will be dealt with by magistrate courts as at present.

Justice Minister Damian Green said enforcing traffic laws was hugely important for road safety but the time it was taking to hear cases - especially those when drivers had accepted their guilt - was "simply unacceptable".

"The justice system must respond more quickly and effectively to the needs of victims, witnesses and local communities, and these dedicated courts will enable magistrates to better organise their work and drive greater efficiency," he said.

Labour said it welcomed moves to make courts more efficient and specialised.

"It is important that we have swift justice, and I look forward to seeing results of how this works in practice," said the party's shadow justice spokesman Sadiq Khan.

But Mr Khan said the measures amounted to "low-hanging fruit" and much bigger savings could be identified through a root-and-branch review of the courts and prosecution systems.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    @24 "fail to signal when passing bicycles"

    "You must not simply indicate when passing every cyclist you meet as this will ultimately cause confusion with drivers thinking you are making a turn at a junction or driveway"

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    All in the need to gain more ££££££££ from motorists. This has nothing to do withjustice or efficiency - just plain exploitation

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    @131 and i'm sure you'd argue that if it happened to someone in your family eh????

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    What is the poor motorist supposed to do, if a clown of a pedestrian steps out in front of him ? The other complaint I have is the cycling fraternity always bleating about the car driver. In my experience and many other motorists it is the lycra clad cyclist that is the menace.

  • Comment number 155.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    I wasn't talkign about accidents. I was talking about how stupid it is to tell people speed kills when the gov's own figures show excessive speed to be the cause of much fewer accidents than not looking or loss of control. My point is that many people simple believe it and it would be better if people could judge appropriate speed properly themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    While we are at it, we should clamp down on that other major killer - Stairs!

    Yes - they kill more people than motorbikes, while more people die waiting for organ transplants in the UK than on our roads.

    But there is no money to be made from either of these "life saving" issues as the liberal Guardianista's are too busy championing the theft of £80 for driving 3 mph over the limit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    146. Skittler
    Speed does not kill! That is a fact. It is impact that kills...
    How many people have been killed by stationary cars?

    The force of the impact is directly proportional to speed. Kinetic energy is half the mass of the object multiplied by the square of its velocity. In laymans terms a small increase in speed can double the force of the impact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    The whole 35 in a 30 being dangerous thing, is not so much the speed itself, but the fact so many of us do it. Yes someone travelling past a school at 90 is very dangerous, but only 0.0001% are stupid enough to do it. Whereas lots of us are guilty of 30+ driving meaning its likely to cause more injuries and deaths than the extremes. Which could explain why the policing of it is so zealous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    As long as its not for 32 MPH in a 30MPH Speed Limit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    Mr Khan say Swift Justice can be delivered. And the hard working tax payer who maybe doing 32 mph in a 30 zone can feel the full force of the law. Mr Kahn however stay resolute in his silence as to the Islamo- Terrorists.. living it up on benefits in Tax-Payer provided housing.. Who most certainly will not be facing Swift Justice. Thanks Mr Khan. no really thanks. Broken Britain at its finest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.


    "The 'speed kills' propaganda needs to stop now."

    Why, do you have some mathematical refutation of the laws of physics? Is the energy of a moving body no longer proportional to the square of its velocity? Does hitting someone at 30 now have the same effect as hitting then at 20?

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.


    When we are children, we have no idea of the dangers of traffic. Therefore, the motorist has to take evasive action because the child won't. This is why a motorist needs to be particularly vigilant, especially around schools, by slowing down to, say, no more than 20mph.

    Unless, of course, you are quite happy to sleep at night having knocked down a child whilst "only" doing 30mph+.

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    Speed does not kill! That is a fact. It is impact that kills and that is caused by stupidity, bad driving, thoughtless pedestrians and mechanical failure. Just look, on any motorway, at the number of idiots who stay in the middle lane, cruising along at 50 mph and turning a three lane road into a single lane. They should be stopped, booked and given a heavy fine, it is very dangerous!

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    @135. ResCyn
    "Motorists are mercilessly persecuted by councils..."
    Of course, they are. Merciless. Honestly, the pro-speeding brigade are beyond parody.

    Anyone who finds themselves paying so much in speeding fines that they are a useful source of revenue should be locked up for their own safety, quite apart from everyone else's.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Re135 ResCyn. I'm not sure where the word 'propaganda' fits in with your argument. Speed does indeed kill but to call it propaganda infers that it doesn't; can you explain that please. Plus, by going at 35mph in a 30mph zone, just how more quickly do you reach your destination given a 15 minute journey for example?

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    ' if they contest the offence, it will be dealt with by magistrate courts as at present.' ...GUILTY GUILTY!
    The reform we really need is that Magistrates should not be allowed to handle contested cases.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    Courts to hear 'minor motoring offences'.

    However 'minor' these offences are it is clear that the Home Office have targetted motorists rather then sex offenders; one must wonder at the reason, perhaps it's financial?

    Where are the courts to deal with the rapists and perverts that are currently being let off with police cautions?

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    135 ResCyn

    'Sometimes it's entirely safe to go more than 30mph butmany now seem indoctrinated to believe it's a sin'

    I'm concerned by those who think that it is somehow okay to clatter into somebody as long as you're not exceeding the speed limit.

    People who would be content having an accident at 58 in a 60 but would have sleepless nights if they had an accident at 58 in a 50.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Only if some daft pedestrian is roaming out on the road where they ought not to be"

    In such as case if you are doing 30mph AND the person walks out suddenly within the road condition's stopping distance, you are unlikely to be charged. Do so at 35mph and you most certainly would be.


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