Police chief: penalise all drivers caught speeding

10.07 | 31 January | | 42 comments

Image: West Mercia Police

The country’s leading roads policing officer has called for a crackdown on motorists who speed, suggesting they should be punished for breaking the limit by even 1mph.

Under current policing guidelines, typically motorists are not stopped if they are driving at up to 10% over the limit – and they are often given an extra 2mph allowance on top of that.

However, speaking yesterday (30 Jan) at the National Roads Policing Conference, chief constable Anthony Bangham, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) roads policing lead, called for the 10% buffer zone to be scrapped.

According to the Daily Mail, Mr Bangham declared ‘enough is enough’, as he argued that police had lost sight of their duty and that speeding drivers were no longer sufficiently afraid of being caught.

Mr Bangham also told delegates that speed awareness courses were being overused and that offenders should get fines and points on their licence instead.

Chief constable Bangham said: “Let’s change the message – we are proud to be law enforcers.

“I do not want the public to be surprised, I want them to be embarrassed when they get caught.

“They need to understand the law is set at the limit for a reason. They should not come whinging to us about getting caught.

“If booked at 35 or 34 or 33 [in a 30mph zone] that cannot be unfair because they are breaking the law.”

Edmund King, president of the AA, accused CC Bangham of ‘wanting to go back to the days of Dixon of Dock Green’.

Talking to the Telegraph, Edmund King said: “Of course speeding is dangerous, and drivers should not speed. But surely it is better to educate motorists rather than just slap a fine on them.

“The last thing we want is drivers glued to speedometer 100% of time. We want drivers to concentrate on road ahead and not be worried about going one or two miles over the limit.”


What’s your view?
Do you agree or disagree with chief constable Bangham? Post a comment below, giving us your name, and we’re publishing a selection of readers’ views in a follow up piece here.


Stakeholder reaction

Brake
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “Speed limits are exactly that, limits, set at the top speed that it is safe to drive on any particular road. Drivers who go beyond these limits are behaving recklessly and endangering the lives of themselves and others.

“Brake wholeheartedly supports Chief Constable Anthony Bangham’s view that a zero-tolerance approach to speeding is required, sending a clear signal that breaking the law is not acceptable.”


RAC
Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, 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.”


 

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    Why is everyone involved in road safety obsessed with the issue of vehicle speed and the idea that we can prosecute our way to safety. Whilst the young jack the lads in their Suburus can be an issue while driving at 50% over the limit, if more attention was given to how and why vehicles had crashed or a pedestrian or cyclist has been killed there would be a lot more progress. For example, if it wasn’t for the Lycra clad community taking to the streets of London, there would not be all the focus on the problem of lorries turning left crushing cyclists.


    Derek Hertfordshire
    Agree (5) | Disagree (1)
    +4

    It would be absurd and naive to presume that all people once behind the wheel will turn into in an uncontrollable megalomaniac and psychopath Charles – recent studies have shown that in reality it is, fortunately, a small minority.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (4)
    --4

    Hugh, let me try and clarify my point for you. The reason I highlighted my observation that *all* drivers will definitely slow down in some circumstances, is to illustrate the fact that the speed of *every* driver can be influenced by some environmental factor or factors – even those drivers whose natural makeup doesn’t lead to them taking much notice of speed limit signs.

    So my contention here is that as speed limits on signs are generally ineffectual, that rather than attempting ever more draconian, oppressive and totally unsustainable ways of enforcing them, why not try to understand if some environmental factor or factors could be artificially changed to emulate the speed reducing powers of a parked lorry.

    I know the notion that drivers can be tamed without being criminalised and heavily punished won’t win much favour amongst those who think that once inside a car, an otherwise decent human being turns into an uncontrollable megalomaniac and psychopath, but I think it is worth discussing, at least.


    Charles, England
    Agree (6) | Disagree (2)
    +4

    I think you’ve lost me Charles – why compare a driver’s slow speed past a stationary vehicle with the same driver’s faster speed further down the road? There’s nothing remarkable or unusual in that. Of more significance surely is the variation in speeds due to differing levels of awareness, observation and anticipation by different drivers for the same circumstances (the same parked lorry for example) that needs to be understood and addressed.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (5)
    --5

    Hugh, the point isn’t the absolute speed, it’s the speed differential (for the same driver) between that chosen for the obstructed road versus that chosen for the unobstructed road. With a lorry blocking half of the busy road, *all* drivers will slow down, by some degree, to pass it. The degree will vary from driver to driver, of course, but the mechanism that makes them slow down at all is the one I think needs more investigation. Whatever it is, it certainly isn’t a speed limit and certainly doesn’t require the use of a speedometer, and (observing this situation recently from the roadside on a busy road near my home) it certainly seems to concentrate the drivers’ minds on the need to look carefully out of the window rather than being occupied with other activities inside their vehicles.

    If we can accurately identify what it is that causes the drivers (all drivers) to slow down, then we can potentially harness it, and deploy it where traffic speeds are currently inappropriately high. Why not try?


    Charles, England
    Agree (5) | Disagree (1)
    +4

    Some would sensibly drive past the parked lorry at 5 mph Charles, but some at 10, some at 15 etc.. anything up to 30 even. That’s the problem – too many can’t judge speed and their ‘stopping in time’ ability. It’s poor or non-existent risk and hazard perception which separates the accident-prone from the accident-free.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (1) | Disagree (4)
    --3

    Hugh, you said “If only that were true!” in response to Peter’s assertion that “Drivers will travel at low speeds when everything outside tells them that slow speed is appropriate”. But you were clearly only referring to scenarios where everything outside was telling drivers that slow speed was *not* appropriate.

    Otherwise how do you account for the phenomenon where, in exactly the same vehicles in exactly the same town in exactly the same road with exactly the same speed limit and at exactly the same time of day, a driver chose a speed of 5 mph when squeezing passed a parked lorry, yet chose a speed of 33 mph when they had passed it? What do you think was dictating their choice of speed when passing the lorry? And why can’t whatever it was be harnessed and used to control traffic speeds more generally?

    (Hint: there wasn’t a 5 mph speed limit posted where the lorry was parked and no speed limit enforcement was taking place).


    Charles, England
    Agree (7) | Disagree (1)
    +6

    Peter says “Drivers will travel at low speeds when everything outside tells them that slow speed is appropriate” If only that were true!…how much better life would be on the roads – no speed management would be necessary at all. I’m sure many do travel at the appropriate speeds but too many won’t, or can’t, otherwise there wouldn’t be such a wide spread of ‘appropriate speeds’ for exactly the same circumstances. If anyone is still in any doubt of the relevance of a vehicles’s speed in avoiding (or not) collisions and not adopting an ‘appropriate’ speed, they only have to watch the many incidents caught on dash cams available on You Tube and on TV.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (7)
    --7

    A study by researchers at the University of Western Australia in 2016 raised concerns that strict speed enforcement could have a detrimental impact on road safety because drivers are dedicating more attention to monitoring their speed than detecting hazards.

    The researchers used a driving simulator to test whether reducing the speed enforcement thresholds would impact on a driver’s mental and visual abilities. 84 participants were told they could be fined for driving 1 km/h, 6 km/h or 11 km/h over a 50 km/h speed limit and the researchers measured their response to small red dots which appeared in their peripheral vision.

    The study found those who were given a 1 km/h threshold were less likely to detect objects outside their immediate line of sight.

    An aspect that was not reported in the study is how long it takes the human eye to readjust to the different light and focal length conditions associated with changing focus from the speedometer to the road outside.

    All of this supports the view that it is better to create slow speed environments outside schools through environmental features than to rely on strict enforcement. Drivers will travel at low speeds when everything outside tells them that slow speed is appropriate.


    Peter Wilson, London
    Agree (8) | Disagree (1)
    +7

    Whatever the current legislation on speedometer accuracy is, it is not retrospective, and there will still be cars on the road which don’t necessarily comply with it, and even some which were built before speedometers were mandatory and so do not have them at all.

    However, that doesn’t invalidate speed limit enforcement – you are not exempt from complying with the speed limit just because you do not have the means to accurately know your speed. We don’t all necessarily accurately know our own blood-alcohol level, but that wouldn’t be a defence either against the drink-drive laws.

    Where in other areas of the criminal law, pleading that you were unaware of a technical contravention might get you acquitted, that’s not how motoring laws based on arbitrary thresholds work.


    Charles, England
    Agree (5) | Disagree (1)
    +4

    Sandy,

    My understanding is that you do NOT have to see a doctor at 70. You merely have to self certify that you are fit to drive. After a life time of convenience and load carrying ability, unsurprisingly rather a lot of people are unwilling to hang up their keys.

    Some end up killing people. How about a proper medical from 70 onward? Actually, how about a proper medical every ten years up to 70? Or even a re-test?


    Kevan Chippindall-Higgin, Southsea
    Agree (3) | Disagree (3)
    0

    Sandy

    The RVAR 2001 specify in Schedule 3, clause 19.2:-

    1. The vehicle shall be fitted with a speedometer capable of indicating speed in mph at uniform intervals not exceeding 20 mph at all speeds up to the maximum speed of the vehicle and capable of being read by the driver at all times of the day or night.

    2. For all true speeds up to the design speed of the vehicle, the true speed shall not exceed the indicated speed.

    3. For all true speeds of between 25 mph and 70 mph (or the maximum speed if lower), the difference between the indicated speed and the true speed shall not exceed—

    V/10 + 6.25 mph

    where V = the true speed of the vehicle in mph.

    Clearly if a vehicle is fitted with a new tyre and the tyre wears then its rolling radius reduces. This will increase number of wheel revolutions for any given actual speed and therefore the speedometer will over read the actual speed. This is allowed in the specification because speedometers are permitted to read high but never low.

    The specification does not call for calibration, but merely that the speedometer should be accurate enough to be within zer to +10% + 6.25mph. Hence theoretically at an actual 50mph a speedometer could read between 50mph and 61.25mph and still be within the specification required.

    With regard to the police this ensures that a driver will always be within the limit if the speedometer shows the vehicle is within the limit.

    I will leave ADIs to answer your comment on whether you will fail your test for driving if you drive below the

    How many more clues would you like?


    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (4) | Disagree (4)
    0

    Rod,
    Can you advise me how the speedo can never read below the actual speed, but can read over 10%? What utter tosh!! Your speedo will ALWAYS read the incorrect speed, as you wear down your tyres for instance? I remember traffic cars having to have their calibrated speedometers redone as they had forgotten to take in the wear factor!

    I have checked my own vehicle’s speedo against different readings on Santnav systems and at, say, a reading of 30 mph I’ve recorded 28 mph. What you are saying is that vehicle manufacturers are setting the actual reading as 30 mph is actually 33 mph? If so the Police have just found another revenue generator for the government? Just so that you know, if during your driving test you sit below the indicated speed limit you will fail the test. If you drive at the indicated speed limit it appears that you have the potential to fail the test when you get pulled over, and accumulating points also! Road Safety used to be about common sense? Now it’s being run by the clueless?


    Sandy Allan, Aberdeen
    Agree (6) | Disagree (4)
    +2

    Sandy

    The Construction and Use Act 1986 regarding speedos has been replaced by the Road Vehicle (Approvals) Regulations 2001. This specifies that a speedo should never read less than the actual speed but can read up to 10% plus 6.25mph above the actual speed.

    Hence the +/- 10% is a myth. It is often used by speeders as a prop to their own inability or desire to keep to a posted limit.

    Lets be clear.

    If your speedo shows you are doing more than 30mph in a 30mph limit and your actual speed is greater than 30mph then you are breaking the law.

    If your speedo shows you doing 30mph or less in a 30mph and you actual speed is greater than 30mph then you are breaking the law twice. Once for speeding and secondly for your vehicle not meeting the requirements of the Road Vehicle (Approvals) Regulations 2001 requirement.


    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (14) | Disagree (5)
    +9

    As a former officer and thinking practically about this suggestion, unless the rules of evidence have changed, to gather evidence of speeding an officer had to form an opinion that a vehicle was speeding and have that backed up by either a colleague or a device such as a speed gun.

    I can’t ever imagine a court convicting a driver when the officer said he/she believed the driver was exceeding the 30mph speed limit at 31 or 32mph in a 30mph zone.


    Jeff, Carlisle
    Agree (13) | Disagree (2)
    +11

    Sorry, but this is farcical. If this ‘Top Cop’ has made this statement it shows he has a complete ignorance of the Construction & Use Act?

    All vehicles in this country have a speedometer that is accurate to + or – 10% on their readings. If you are looking for an accurate reading then ALL VEHICLES WILL NEED TO BE FITTED WITH A CALIBRATED SPEEDO! Just like police traffic cars (normal police patrol vehicles have the same speedometer as you and I).

    The fact that ‘speed is a contributing factor in the majority of accidents’. Well of course it is. If the vehicle wasn’t moving it would be stationary.

    Rather than focusing on the effect, the powers that be should be looking at the cause. Poor driving skills. Ignorance of the most basic rules of the Highway Code. The fact that on passing your test, you never have to prove you are keeping your driving skills fresh, your knowledge up to date, or your failing eyesight checked until you go see a doctor at 70. Then they make decision on wether you’re fit to drive or not, without seeing you in control of road vehicle? How Edwardian?


    Sandy Allan, Aberdeen
    Agree (12) | Disagree (5)
    +7

    Tim,

    If a driver exceeds a speed limit because his car didn’t ping to alert him he was speeding (because the speed limit feed was outdated), is it still his fault?

    (Hint: yes)


    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (6) | Disagree (0)
    +6

    It seems to me that many are arguing that drivers should be allowed to exceed the speed limit, when what they should be arguing is that the limit should be higher in certain cases. The latter, I can see as being a reasonable debate to have. I might not agree with everyone – I’m quite happy for my residential road to have a 20mph limit for example – but that’s a reasonable issue to discuss.

    But arguing that people should be allowed to drive faster than the legal limit?! It’s an upper limit, not an advisory speed. Do people not understand what limit means? Do they not have dictionaries?

    And as for this concern that people will end up driving around with their eyes glued to their speedometers, not looking where they’re going, please do me a favour…I thought better of Edmund King. If drivers are genuinely that challenged then surely it must be easy to provide a GPS based gadget (phone app, whatever) which beeps when you exceed the speed limit. The only reason such a thing isn’t standard in cars already is that so many drivers feel entitled to break the law, and don’t want to be beeped at while they do so. That needs to change.


    Tim
    Agree (15) | Disagree (7)
    +8

    I see that this story is taken from an article in the Daily Mail.
    This “newspaper” has a track record of causing argument and division in society, on many subjects, from Brexit to the benefits system.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I would take anything you read in the article with a very large pinch of salt. I’d like to know what the Chief Constable really said, not what the Daily Mail reported him saying.


    Martin A, Ipswich
    Agree (14) | Disagree (1)
    +13

    Hi Bugsy. I wish it were true. According to police records, 13,473 people were killed or seriously injured on 30mph roads in 2016. How many were caused by ‘boy racers’. I guess the vast majority were ordinary people who simply ‘made a mistake’

    Similar arguments were raised when the drink driving laws were introduced…”crashes aren’t caused by someone having 2 or 3 pints; they’re the result of people getting completely smashed and driving like lunatics. Now it’s socially unacceptable to drink and drive. We need to see driving too fast in the same light.

    Giving some leeway is seductive, except that 30mph is already too fast in many places in our towns and villages, particularly for vulnerable road users – the elderly or disabled, the young, those on foot, in disability scooters or on bicycles. If the limit were 20mph then the problem is lessened.


    Adrian, Tunbridge Wells
    Agree (15) | Disagree (7)
    +8

    Adrian, the 30KPH continental limit is the equivalent to our 20MPH, not our 30MPH, that is the 50KPH limit. Once again it is a convenient broad brush round number. Brenda, the terrible accidents to which you refer are not responsible drivers a little over the posted limit. That hard core of irresponsible drivers will ignore any limit whatever it is. Speed limits are arbitrary. If, as asserted by BRAKE, they “are set at the top speed that it is safe to drive on any given road” then why are they all round numbers? Why not 23MPH, 27MPH, 43MPH? It is a gross over simplification to lump drivers who occasionally stray over the limit with the lunatics who cause mayhem on the roads. Think Hayes, think Birmingham, think Leeds.


    Bugsy, Worcester
    Agree (14) | Disagree (9)
    +5

    With regard to Charles’ comment – that is a rose-tinted and rather naive general belief of drivers’ attitude and ability. The majority – thankfully – are as diligent as he describes, but too many are not… they are the speeders and must remain the number one target for corrective measures. If zero-tolerance is the answer, then so be it… pity it’s come to that really.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (8) | Disagree (4)
    +4

    I was delighted to hear the Chief Constable’s view that speeding motorists should be treated much more strictly than they currently are, with the 10% buffer zone scrapped, and offenders given fines and points rather than speed awareness courses.

    As a pedestrian who sees speeding on the increase with drivers racing down residential and shopping streets with impunity, terrifying other road users, it seems as if there are no consequences to be faced for speeding.

    The opposite is true for pedestrians. The extremely sad incidents of five pedestrians (including three teenagers) in recent months killed by speeding cars while waiting at bus stops is symptomatic of the terror that we have to face from speeding motorists.

    Around 45 pedestrians each year get killed by drivers on pavements let alone the 1390 pedestrians killed or seriously injured trying to cross the road (in the year to June 2017) of whom a quarter were children.

    I could not be more relieved that someone at the highest level is taking this seriously and seeking to protect pedestrians from the very real terror of speeding motorists.


    Brenda Puech, London
    Agree (14) | Disagree (19)
    --5

    The equivalent on many roads in towns and villages on the continent is 30kph (18mph)…


    Adrian, Tunbridge Wells
    Agree (5) | Disagree (3)
    +2

    Here we go again. Licenced and insured drivers of road worthy cars who drift a little over the limit are not the ones causing the terrible accidents we read about. These involve often illegally driven cars travelling at way over the limit, driven by people who simply don’t care. 30MPH is an arbitrary, convenient round number. The equivalent on the continent is 31MPH (50KPH) and so Joshua Harris’ (Brake) assertion that limits are absolute is just uninformed nonsense. It should also be noted that the convention that a given limit ends opposite the point on the carriageway where the limit starts in the other direction, is once again an arbitrary convenience not based upon safety issues. Disappointing that a senior officer appears to display such little appreciation of real road safety issues.


    Bugsy, Worcester
    Agree (12) | Disagree (9)
    +3

    I’m bemused by the fuss.

    1) On “watching speedometers”, the implication is that you somehow “know your speed” when doing 34 mph, but not 30 mph. If in doubt, drive a little slower.
    2) Speedometers are accurate. If yours isn’t, then drive a little slower.
    3) We use the term “Speed LIMITS” for a reason; it’s a limit, not a target. If in doubt, the law allows you to drive a little slower.

    The main point is that ALL casualties are the result of speed – no one has ever caused a crash at 0 mph, as far as I am aware – and the faster that you drive, the greater the harm that will be done if you crash. In most urban settings, a speed limit 30mph is already too fast for safety and convenience of the majority of road users (think pedestrians, think mobility scooters, think cyclists, think old people, think children) and there is no excuse for exceeding it. On the contrary, driving slower than 30mph should be the norm in most towns, cities and villages, so let’s have 20mph on all residential streets and town/village centres. If drivers DO exceed this lower limit by 1 or 2 mph, then the result will be less damaging than exceeding a 30mph limit.


    Adrian, Tunbridge Wells
    Agree (11) | Disagree (12)
    --1

    Rod, it’s all about risk. Drivers, as for all other road users, are continually monitoring risk and adapting their behaviour based on their perception of the size of the worst current risk and the potential cost of getting it wrong (all this is generally happening subconsciously, of course). They can adapt their speed and/or their path to keep the risk to what they perceive to be an acceptable level. If we add a new and potentially very expensive risk (drastic penalties for *any* contravention of arbitrary speed limits) to all the other road use risks, drivers (being humans) will inevitably have to dedicate part (and quite a large part because the reference is inside the car rather than outside with the other risks) of their bandwidth to processing that new risk, thus reducing the attention given to the other “normal” road use risks (the risks of other road users crossing their path and the risk of bumping into the scenery).

    A more intelligent approach, and one which would deliver significant road safety benefits, would be to increase the perception of the size of the “normal” road use risks. Thus the drivers’ attention would be wholly focussed on safety rather than largely focussed on protecting their licences.


    Charles, England
    Agree (13) | Disagree (3)
    +10

    So Edmund King says “The last thing we want is drivers glued to speedometer 100% of time. We want drivers to concentrate on road ahead and not be worried about going one or two miles over the limit.”

    Presumably he doesn’t want drivers in a 70 limit looking at their speedos all the time because they don’t want to be nicked at 71mph.

    OK, I respect his right to have such an opinion. But what about the same driver in a 60 limit at the moment. He doesn’t want to get nicked at 1mph above the current threshold of 60mph + 10% + 2mph. That’s 69mph. Apparently today he doesn’t need to keep looking at his speedo to prevent being nicked at 69mph.

    Can anyone tell me what is magic about the difference between 69mph and 71mph which means that to keep below 69mph a driver doesn’t need to keep looking at his speedo, yet to keep below 71mph he does.

    Really Edmund, its time to stop spreading this ludicrous “eyes glued to speedo” myth.


    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (15) | Disagree (15)
    0

    Where have all the bobbies gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the bobbies gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the bobbies gone?
    Short sighted politicians have picked them every one
    When will they ever learn?
    Know the cost of everything and the value of nothing
    When will they ever learn?

    I don’t agree with James but I understand his comments about our politically correct society. However, I would say to James, if you can wave your magic wand and get the resources to do what you are suggesting effectively – good luck. If you manage it, I would venture to suggest that many of your colleagues who are doing a brilliant job in the most challenging of times, may like to see those extra resources channelled into other areas of roads policing that might just result in more effective and useful results.


    Mark – Wiltshire, Warminster
    Agree (11) | Disagree (0)
    +11

    I absolutely agree with the following comment:

    “The current 10%+2mph is there for a reason. Speedometers are not accurate, people make mistakes (it’s in our nature) and above all, we police in the UK with the consent of the public. Why on earth do we want to damage the trust and support of the majority by applying punitive penalties and removing discretion? I feel for my former colleagues who will now get a ‘verbal battering’ as the public face of one Chief Constable’s inappropriate and ill conceived comments.”
    Graham Johnstone, Hull

    Speed alone is not the killer. Speed may be a contributor to a collision. Ultimately there are numerous factors that contribute. I just wonder why the vehicle manufacturers are not called into question with regards their advertising of sex, speed, macho behaviour etc.

    Road Traffic Investigators will tell you that human factors are more relevant, also, in the case for example of Northern Ireland, there is a major issue with “legacy” roads – i.e. road that do not have the correct infrastructure for safety. I suspect this also applies to the rest of the U.K. The point being that speed per se is not the major issue in road collisions.

    I find it frustrating to say the least that armchair experts muddy the waters with inaccuracies and personal opinion.


    Elaine Hardy, Sainte Foy La Grande
    Agree (12) | Disagree (7)
    +5

    Zero-tolerance is impossible because speed measuring traps aren’t physically capable of reliably measuring vehicles’ speeds to an infinite number of decimal places. Charges of travelling at 30.000001 mph in a 30 mph limit would get laughed out of court every time.


    Charles, England
    Agree (13) | Disagree (3)
    +10

    Dave, surely the so called ‘policy’ that is in question is that made some 10 years or so ago. Should we be giving a toleration to speeding in any way shape or form. Before this EU directive came about there was no such ‘policy. We reported drivers for speeding over the normal speed limit and not limited or influenced by the invented EU one.

    We are just going back to a time when the speedometer ruled our speed and our senses and not a policy designed by foreigners and imposed upon us. One single unified policy rather than the present two alternatives.

    What’s wrong in driving at 28 mph anyway? Plus as tyres wear down that will reduce the circumference of the wheels and that will mean that we will actually be driving even slower than that 28 mph. All to the good I say.

    The problem now comes in with all the electronics on future cars that will be able to limit our speed, would that electronic gadget stop us from exceeding the 30 mph limit and at the same time will our speedometers show say 33 mph, or will that matter? That is if the speed control was turned on that is. Sat nav speeds can be far more accurate than speedometers.

    PS. I doubt that the lesser or greater speed by 10% plus 2 will make any difference to the sound a car or motorbike makes. One that may be detrimental to the public wherever they may be.


    Bob Craven
    Agree (2) | Disagree (4)
    --2

    Surely it’s time to decide: “Do we want policies based on evidence or opinion”?

    If evidence, let’s do it right. Run all interventions within scientific trials where possible. That way we’ll see what effects each have, we will start to have a much deeper understanding of road safety and lives will be saved. The trials can include many criteria such as changes in collision rates, noise levels, pollution etc.

    But if we are to continue with opinion based policy, such as that proposed by Mr Bangham, then let’s be honest and admit that we reject a true evidence based approach. I don’t object to the policies, I simply object to the pretense that they are evidence based.


    dave finney, Slough
    Agree (16) | Disagree (3)
    +13

    On the comment of speedos, modern speedos *are* accurate. They are designed to show any human who is looking at the speedometer 2-3mph below at any speed however.

    Secondly, I guess I’m kind of in support of zero tolerance measures. I look forward to there being no police officers remaining on the roads due to their licences being suspended for six months at a time(!)


    David Weston, Corby
    Agree (5) | Disagree (2)
    +3

    On the issue of speedos, on my last car and my current one which had a very high mileage and quite a low mileage respectively and were many years old, the speedos were 100% accurate at 30 and 40 mph as were one or two other vehicles randomly checked – not a comprehensive survey by any means, but I wouldn’t necessarily assume speedos are always inaccurate.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (4) | Disagree (4)
    0

    The point is largely academic when the police are very frequency not around on urban roads and rural lanes to enforce the limit what ever it is and with or without discretion


    Pat, Wales
    Agree (13) | Disagree (1)
    +12

    There is a lot of talk about speedos being inaccurate. But, the margin of error is only down. It is illegal for your speedo to show less than your actual speed. This is built into the UK vehicle requirements “A speedo must never show less than the actual speed, and must never show more than 110% of actual speed + 6.25mph. ”

    Hence if your speedo shows 30 mph then you are not exceeding the speed limit unless your car is not meeting UK specifications.

    The practical issues with keeping speed below 35mph is exactly the same as keeping it below 30mph. It is just that everything is happening 16% quicker and your kinetic energy is 36% greater.

    Such a change would bring the law into greater respect. Police already have the discretion not to take action but this should be based on specific circumstances rather than a blanket dilution of the speed limits set.

    We have a strong tradition that elected representatives of the people set laws, a professional police force enforces them and an independent judiciary passes sentence. Blurring the responsibilities between them bring all three institutions into disrepute.


    Rod King, Warrington
    Agree (8) | Disagree (12)
    --4

    “Edmund King, president of the AA, accused CC Bangham of ‘wanting to go back to the days of Dixon of Dock Green’”.

    And what is wrong with that Mr King? Perhaps a bit more respect for the police (and therefore the law) wouldn’t go amiss.

    Too many people flaunt the law; chief constable Bangham is making a valid point that by allowing a 10% +2 tolerance, effectively we allow people to break the law.

    Too many people drive around in high powered, comfortable cars driving at the speed they feel comfortable at. They are desensitised to the dangers of speeding and given a false sense of safety that modern vehicles provide. For the driver in an accident the impact is minimal; for a pedestrian hit by that vehicle its devastating.

    Education does not work. If it did then people wouldn’t speed. Education after they are caught doesn’t prevent them doing it again, but the surveys they fill out are just a sheepish reaction to being caught.

    Fair play to chief constable Bangham for saying what needs to be said in a politically correct obsessed society that prevents many from really saying what they believe.


    Nick, Portishead
    Agree (13) | Disagree (16)
    --3

    Graham I too am a retired police officer and I am in total agreement with the need to scrap the 10% plus 2 mph which works out at 30 mph to be an allowable increase to 35 mph. In a town situation that differential can make an awful lot of difference. 5 mph difference and that adds to the other problem of tailgating which in itself is something that the police need to deal with also. I can’t make you out as you start by saying that you attended far too many fatalities that undoubtedly had speed as a primary causation and yet you want to condone and permit the continuing actions of that issue. Of some who would drive over the speed limit just because their speedometers are wrong…

    When you talk of the innaccuraces of the speedometer you fail to say that none actually register under the speed limit at all. Many speedometers actually register a faster speed than one is actually doing. I know that mine registers 30 mph when I am doing only 28 mph but that is a good thing. In America they tested some 60 vehicles for speedometer accuracy and found that all measured more than actual speed and only the BMW registered a correct speed. So I am glad now that we can start again as it was in your day Graham where the speedometer was king and we drove by it without any more recent interventions by other authorities.


    bob craven
    Agree (9) | Disagree (17)
    --8

    Speedometers read a couple of mph over the actual speed in order to assist in staying under the limit. There is no excuse for not staying under the limit.

    Further, action on speeding is not just a matter of preventing death and injury. Speed has an impact on noise levels for those people living on roads. Road noise at 40mph is twice that at 30mph. The affect of road noise on residents quality of life and health is well established in scientific literature.

    When you are speeding at night on an empty street and think you’re hurting no one, think about the people that live there and are affected by your sociopathic actions.


    Kris Wilkes, Birmingham
    Agree (12) | Disagree (11)
    +1

    As a retired RP Inspector, SIO, SCI and someone who attended far too many fatalities that undoubtedly had speed as a primary causation factor, words fail me. When senior Police Officers stoop to this level of crass sensationalism, it totally undermines the excellent and ongoing work of my former colleagues, who with very limited and finite resources perform a truly outstanding job. I trust those former colleagues to deal with situations they come across fairly, applying current legislation and guidance appropriately according to the individual circumstances of the offence. Education works, there are a number of studies which show its effectiveness. The current 10%+2mph is there for a reason. Speedometers are not accurate, people make mistakes (it’s in our nature) and above all, we police in the UK with the consent of the public. Why on earth do we want to damage the trust and support of the majority by applying punitive penalties and removing discretion? I feel for my former colleagues who will now get a ‘verbal battering’ as the public face of one Chief Constable’s inappropriate and ill conceived comments.


    Graham Johnstone, Hull
    Agree (27) | Disagree (9)
    +18

    He has clearly thought this through. I fully agree with the issues caused by speeding. However, with a crass comment like that from a senior officer he is inviting a backlash from the public. If the Police were to go down that route then each driver who is caught for speeding should ask for their day in court. That will soon crash the legal system and bring the courts to a grinding halt and make them rethink such a comment.


    Keith, Bristol
    Agree (18) | Disagree (11)
    +7