Francis slams traffic offenders
bid to persuade motorists to obey the rules of the road.And he has promised that he is likely to raise the level of fines for uninsured motorists, who he described as "a menace to other road users''.Mr. Francis made his remarks following yesterday morning's Plea Court session during which he was faced with an army of traffic offenders.Both he and prosecutor Larry Mussenden were left exasperated at the number of people who came forward with tickets for unlicensed and uninsured vehicles.And he said he could not understand the mentality of drivers who risked a heavy fine rather than get their vehicles licensed."I am just so concerned that there seems to be so much of this type of offence about,'' Mr. Francis said."I know a number of people who have been hit by uninsured vehicles and they cannot then collect on the insurance.'' Magistrates currently have the power to fine uninsured drivers more than $1,000, although the current trend is for a $500 penalty to be imposed.And although many of yesterday's offenders were stunned by that fine, it is set to increase by the end of the year."I think it's fair to say that $500 is about the standard at the moment,'' Mr. Francis said."But by the New Year I am likely to be increasing that by $100 or $200 and charging $600 or $700. There's just too much of it about and there's a lot of people who have been knocked down by uninsured vehicles and are scratching around for hospital bills and wages and so forth."Driving while uninsured is a very serious offence and I just don't think that some people realise how serious it is."If you knock someone down at least that person has got an insurance company to pay for the cost of medical bills."Driving while disqualified is a serious offence because insurance companies will not cover disqualified drivers. I have heard a lot of people talking foolishness about their bike being insured. But if I am riding a cycle I am liable to pay the expenses of any person I knock down. The bike is not insured it's the liability of the rider that's insured.'' Mr. Francis also hit out at people who repeatedly failed to get their vehicle licensed."Why do these people take the chance of getting a fine,'' he said."And I would not say it's just young people who are the offenders. People in their 30s and 40s, people who you would expect to get their vehicles licensed, are also coming to the courts.'' His view was backed by prosecutor Larry Mussenden, who suggested that the Transport Control Department could launch a campaign encouraging motorists to get their vehicles licensed."I think one of these days the message will get home to people,'' he said."But I think TCD should launch some kind of advertising campaign. Someone needs to get the message out because we have people coming in here every day.''