Police forces to adopt new speeding guidelines

09.03 | 11 April 2011 | | 3 comments

Drivers caught speeding at up to 86mph will be able to avoid penalty points under a new scheme to be adopted by most police forces (Telegraph).

Under the new guidelines ministers will raise the limit at which drivers can escape prosecution, provided they pay to attend a speed awareness course. Drivers can already pay to attend courses in order to escape points or fines for speeding, but now the upper limit at which the option is available is being raised.

37 of England’s 44 police forces (09.04.11) have so far agreed to put the new framework in place, and it is already under way in Oxfordshire.

The courses have so far been limited to drivers caught travelling up to 10% plus 5mph above the speed limit, but this is being raised to 10% plus 9mph. For a 30mph zone the upper limit for a speeding course would be 42mph.

The courses can only be taken by the same driver once every three years, to prevent repeat offenders from abusing the system. According to the Telegraph report, officials said the guidelines were not fixed and that police chiefs were free to set their own levels.

Robert Gifford, executive director of PACTS, told the Daily Mail: "Increasing the latitude for motorists to do speed awareness courses means more will fall into the net. But the Government supports using the cash from the courses to fund the cameras."

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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    Can we please be clear on this – these are not changes to enforcement thresholds – they are changes to the threshold at which an errant, caught speeder can choose to go to court or take a course. And you’re only allowed to make that choice once in three years. There is no reason to believe this would lead to an increase in average speeds. At the moment in some areas this is the only source of funding for road safety work. I am reminded of a quote from Teddy Roosevelt I saw on Twitter this morning: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

    Mike Mounfield, Birmingham
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    The posted speed limit on any road is designed to be the ‘maximum’ speed you should be travelling at, at all times. It’s not a target and it’s not the minimum but if the conditions are bad (adverse weather/obstructions etc) then lower speeds are recommended. Why do I worry that by ‘increasing’ the tolerance for enforcement to allow more people to attend speed awareness courses will only ‘increase’ the number of speeders?…. And more frighteningly, why do I also worry that this stealth increase in average speeds on our roads may impact negatively on casualty rates?…..mmm…I don’t have a crystal ball, but the UK has successfully reduced the number of people killed and seriously injured on its roads in the last decade. Even with this success more than 2,000 people die on the roads still each year. Would we accept this abhorrent annual loss of life on any other form of transport?

    The coalition has taken away vital funding that local authorities relied upon to maintain and run their road safety budgets and operations. It should be fairer and say that the coalition actually did not “put the funding back” that the Labour Government removed in 2007! This coalition has inherited the lowest death rates on UK roads since records began – but when funding is removed and resource and attention is ‘re-deployed’ will we see preventable deaths on our roads creep back up?

    I shudder to think….!

    Ask any road safety professional and they will tell you, that if you take away the funding local authorities find every reason ‘not to do something’….increase speeds through greater tolerance and this unhappy alliance of consequence may just be playing Russian Roulette with people’s lives….badly done!

    Susan, Warwickshire
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    Good news for the couple of firms that undertake this type of course. Aren’t the AA one? I wonder haw many others will now jump on the money spinner.

    Just who decides who goes on a course and who doesn’t, is it the motorist or the police or other authority?
    There is a rumour that it will not apply to motorcycles and if this is true is there some form of discrimination going on?

    I do not think the anti speed brigade are going to be the slightest bit happy about this.

    I also feel that many drivers will be of the opinion that they can speed up to those limits with the only consequence being an awareness course, but they fail to remember that they can be prosecuted and have points issued for any speeding above the stated limit.

    Bob Craven
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