Star comment: Motorists don't want to be used as cash cows

Motorists are facing a tough time already. The cost of fuel has risen and roads are congested as many people stick with their cars rather than using a public transport system that is straining at the seams.

Yet it could be about to get even tougher to drive a vehicle, with a raft of new laws coming into force. Local councils are going to be able to enforce more minor traffic offences, potentially brining in additional revenue at a time when motorists are already hard up.

The new rules mean local councils can extend their remit beyond the present position. Motorists who already face bus lane cameras and speed traps could also face clean air charges, enforcement if they stop in yellow-box junctions and more besides.

The number of offences for which they can be fined will escalate as more cameras are brought into use.

There will be a collective sigh of resignation from many motorists who will no doubt view it as an opportunity for local councils to bring in a bit more income. Whether councils have the appetite to take on more responsibilities remains to be seen.

Of course, we all have a duty to obey the Highway Code and our driving should be both considerate and within the law. Yet at a time when the cost of living is through the roof, many will curse their luck if they inadvertently find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time and face a £60 penalty charge.

The answer, therefore, is for people to stick to the rules of the road. Meanwhile, local authorities will have to work hard to convince motorists that this is about safety – and not generating additional revenue.

The countdown has begun. The Commonwealth Games is coming to the West Midlands with a celebration of sport and culture in store at Birmingham. Given all of the challenges the world faces, it would be easy to dismiss the Games, but such a celebration, a coming together of nations here in the West Midlands, is perhaps more important than ever.

It will boost the local economy and provide a topic of good news here in our region. It will be the first major multi-sports event to take place free of any Covid-19 restrictions. It will inspire a new generation of athletes.

We can look forward with pride to the Games. This region is synonymous with sport, of course, with the modern day Olympic Games having been inspired by a doctor from Much Wenlock. Sport is coming home and we can look forward to the highlights during an electrifying programme of events.

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