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Old traffic fines ‘weren’t working’, Commissioner says

Photo by David Parody

Penalties for traffic offences were outdated and did not provide sufficient deterrence to discourage drivers from breaking the rules, the Commissioner of Police said on Friday, as he welcomed increases to fines across the board.

Richard Ullger said penalties had not increased with inflation over the years and had lost their value as a deterrent.

“The RGP pressed for changes to the scale of fines because we felt that the old fines were not being effective as a deterrent,” he said.

“For example, all parking fines were £50 - a sum that could then be reduced to £25 if it was paid promptly.”

“For many people, the possibility of being fined £25 did not stop them from parking irresponsibly.”

Mr Ullger was speaking after the Gibraltar Government published changes to traffic regulations the increased the fines for fixed penalty notices in a range of offences.

Parking and waiting offences have been doubled from their previous amount while continuing with the 50% discount if paid within 14 days from the date of issue.

Road Traffic offences have been increased from £100 to £300. The 50% reduction does not apply to these notices.

Additionally, the definition of ‘use’ for the offence of using a mobile device while driving has been widened.

It now covers everything from illuminating the screen to unlocking the device or using it in any way.

The government has also published draft legislation to sharply increase fines for speeding, a routine offence on Gibraltar’s roads.

Last year alone, over 900 people were reported for speeding.

“It is important that we keep our streets safe for the most vulnerable road users within our community, especially pedestrians and children,” said Paul Balban, the Minister for Transport.

“As a result of listening to the views of the Royal Gibraltar Police and especially the Commissioner of Police, it was clear that our level of fines had become relatively insignificant and were no longer a real deterrent to help tackle inconsiderate and even dangerous road use.”

“These changes are just a small part of the various road safety strategies which will be introduced in the coming months aimed at reducing offending and in particular, the possibility of road traffic collisions with the dangerous consequences these create.”

“We soon also expect to publish the law for a points system to further bolster the tools available to law enforcement in promoting respect for our traffic laws.”

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