A group of pro-cycling MPs are calling for larger fines for drivers of heavier vehicles, such as SUVs.
The MPs, members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking, believe that larger vehicles should be seen as an “aggravating factor” when they’re involved in serious accidents. Drivers of these vehicles should therefore be fined more, or receive tougher penalties.
Their report, due to be released soon, says: “Passenger cars vary greatly in weight so the aggravating factors should, we argue, take this into account”.
This could mean that people who drive cars such as Land Rovers, Nissan Qashqais and other larger models could face stiffer penalties should the proposal become law.
The proposal is already proving unpopular among activists.
Claire Armstrong, a spokesperson for Safe Speed, had this to say: “Driving a 4×4 does not make you a more dangerous motorist and driving a smaller car doesn’t mean you are safer”.
She goes on to say: “It makes no sense to suggest that killing someone while driving an SUV is worse than killing someone while riding a motorcycle.”
Despite opposition from activists and others, the Group’s proposal is supported by the Highway Code. In January 2022, the Highway Code introduced the ‘hierarchy of road users’.
This hierarchy places those at most risk in a collision at the top. The Code states that: “Those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others”.
This principle applies to passenger vehicles, HGVs, minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles. Above them on the hierarchy are cyclists, horse-drawn vehicles and horse riders, with pedestrians being highest on the hierarchy.
There is currently no definitive information on whether a law regarding the larger fines will be introduced.
If you want to find out more about potential new driving laws, check out our blog on a potential new parking rule.