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Zero tolerance approach to speeding for the police?

Zero tolerance approach to speeding for the police?

(Posted on 01/02/18)

Drivers exceeding the speed limit by 10mph or less should not escape penalties according to a leading police chief.

Speaking at the National Roads Policing Conference, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead on Roads Policing, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham talked about the new refreshed roads policing strategy. 

He said: “Nationally on average five people are killed and 66 are seriously injured every day on the roads, and these numbers are on the rise. 

“We need to be clearer with the public about what they should expect from the police.  I fear we’ve become apologetic about enforcing laws designed to prevent people being killed or injured.  I want us to do more to proactively detect people driving using a mobile or speeding on high harm routes and be clear that they can expect to be stopped and could receive the full penalty.

“As an example, anything from 31mph onwards is over the speed limit and the options for a police response – a speed awareness course, fixed penalty notice or attendance at court – are discretionary based on the circumstances.  My message to drivers is - don’t assume you have a free pass if you’re over the limit.

“Police chiefs and Police and Crime Commissioners make decisions about local priorities, including roads policing.   Officer discretion and common-sense will remain at the centre of roads policing and there will still be an important place for educational courses to improve driving standards.”

However, the comments have not been well-received by some motoring groups. The RAC's road safety spokesman Pete Williams said:

"While speed is clearly a contributory factor in many road accidents and there is no question that drivers should obey the speed limit, it doesn't seem sensible to make motorists constantly look at their speedometers for fear of drifting a few miles an hour above the limit.

"Originally, the leeway of 10% plus 2mph over the speed limit was given to take account of inaccuracies that may occur because of camera and speedometer calibration. Surely, the police's focus should be on tackling those who exceed the speed limit consistently, and, or excessively, as they present the greatest road safety risk. It seems very wrong to penalise law-abiding motorists who may occasionally go very slightly above the limit.

"Speed awareness courses have helped many motorists understand the importance of safe speeds. These should continue to be part of the solution, and forces should not be in a hurry to load fines and penalty points onto drivers who may well be mistakenly making a small error."

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