HC Deb 13 December 1956 vol 562 cc617-8
38. Mr. Viant

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that the approximate average fine for the offence of driving under the influence of drink has been progressively reduced from £17 10s. in 1953 to f17 5s. in 1954 and f16 16s. in 1955; that warnings have been given by the Lord Chief Justice, the Lord Chancellor and others concerning the inadequacy of the fines for the seriousness of the offence; and if he will introduce legislation to increase the statutory minimum fine.

Major Lloyd-George

If the hon. Member's figures are intended to indicate the average fine per conviction in a magistrates' court of driving under the influence of drink or drugs and are based on the Return of Offences Relating to Motor Vehicles it appears that his figure for 1955 should be £18, showing an increase on the previous years and not a decrease.

There are at present no statutory minimum fines for road traffic offences and I am not prepared to introduce legislation to prescribe such fines. I have, however, drawn magistrates' attention to the fact that during the debates on the Road Traffic Bill in another place the Lord Chancellor, while opposing the introduction of minimum penalties, suggested that magistrates' courts might be well advised to review the scale of penalties which they customarily impose in motoring cases.

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