Task 2: The only way to improve road safety is to give much stricter punishments on driving offenses. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Introduction: stricter punishments are necessary. They are not the only way to improve road safety – there are other effective measures. So, disagree with the statement.
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Paragraph 2: stricter punishments will be effective – motoring offenses are crimes. Non-custodial sentences – heavy fines, driving bans. Prison sentences – serious offences e.g. drinking and driving (UK example).
Paragraph 3: additional measures (1) install speed cameras (2) traffic calming (3) vehicle inspections.
Conclusion: repeat opinion that harsher penalties and other measures are necessary.
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It is true that stricter punishments will deter many motorists from driving dangerously or carelessly on the roads. However, I strongly disagree that this is the only way to improve road safety, because there are alternative measures which would also be effective.
Stricter punishments will undoubtedly act as a deterrent, so that motorists will think twice before committing traffic offenses. It is often forgotten that motoring offenses are, in fact, crimes. The full weight of the law should be applied in imposing a range of non-custodial sentences, such as heavy fines, and the confiscation of driving licences. The letter of the law must be strictly implemented, banning offenders from the roads so they will no longer pose a danger to other road-users, including pedestrians. Those who drive while intoxicated should serve a prison sentence, as is sometimes imposed in the UK, because they endanger innocent lives.
While harsh penalties for offenders should be high on the government agenda, there are other steps which national and local authorities should take to improve road safety. Firstly, installing speed cameras has made drivers aware of the need to adhere to speed limits. Many authorities around the world have adopted this very cost-effective measure. Secondly, traffic calming measures have succeeded in reducing the number of accidents,
especially in built-up areas. Finally, it is necessary to adopt a policy of conducting regular vehicle inspections, at authorised centres, to avoid accidents caused by mechanical failures.
In conclusion, in order to improve road safety, it is not enough to be tough on traffic crimes by punishing more harshly those who violate the law. A range of road safety measures should accompany harsher driving penalties.
• to act as a deterrent
Meaning: to act in a way that makes somebody less likely to commit some crime. Example: Longer prison sentences would act as a deterrent and would be one useful measure to tackle crime.
• the full weight of the law
Meaning: all the strictest punishments available according to the laws of a country.
Example: In order to deter crime, the full weight of the law must be imposed for serious offenses.
• a non-custodial sentence
Meaning: a sentence which is not served in prison.
Example: There is a wide range of non-custodial sentences which a court may give to offenders, including fines, probation orders or community service orders.
• the letter of the law
Meaning: the exact wording of the law, without any excuses
Example: I believe that the courts must apply the strict letter of the law and
impose the harshest possible sentences on criminals.
• to serve a prison sentence
Meaning: to be confined in a prison as a punishment for some crime.
Example: They are serving long prison sentences for their part in the murder.
• to be tough on crime Meaning: to punish crime severely
Example: The crime rate is likely to fall if governments take strong measures to be tough on crime.
• driving while intoxicated
Meaning: the crime of driving a vehicle after drinking too much alcohol.
Example: Driving while intoxicated is a serious crime, and those who drive while under the influence of drink must be severely punished.
• to install speed cameras
Meaning: to put cameras on certain roads to check that cars are obeying the speed limits.
Example: Local authorities must install speed cameras near all schools and hospitals to limit the speed at which vehicles are allowed to travel.
• traffic calming
Meaning: building raised areas on roads, as a way of making sure that cars go more slowly.
Example: Traffic calming measures in towns and cities would make the roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
• to conduct regular vehicle inspections
Meaning: to inspect all cars, buses and trucks at regular intervals to check that they are in good condition and safe to drive.
Example: Every town and city should have centres which conduct regular vehicle inspections.
• high on the agenda
Meaning: something which is among the first things in the list of actions to take Example: The rehabilitation of prisoners must be high on the agenda of prison authorities everywhere.
• national and local authorities
Meaning: government organizations acting at a national level or within a smaller, local area.
Example: Tackling crime is a responsibility of both national and local authorities.
• to adhere to
Meaning: to behave according to a particular law, rule or set of instructions. Example: Governments which fail to adhere to their election promises generally become unpopular very quickly.