Potential £100 fine for exceeding speed limit by 1 mph!
2018 has seen speed limits featured several times in the media. It seems that this focus on motorist speed and its association with riders being killed or seriously injured began back in January, when Chief Constable Bangham (West Mercia Police) issued a statement on speed enforcement. In August, news of the proposed changes was discussed in Motorcycle News, with indications that a potential shake-up to speeding penalties could result in riders being fined £100 for being just one mph over the speed limit.
A more detailed look at the proposed changes reveals that it is likely to be persistent offenders who would attract a £100 fixed penalty, whilst other less persistent offenders might be invited to attend a speed awareness course if caught exceeding a 30 mph speed limit by just 1 mph. Chief Constable Bangham apparently makes the point that the current rules empower motorists to believe that it is acceptable to speed. His views relate to historic guidelines that sometimes allow a 10% leeway + 2 mph, meaning that in a 30 mph speed limit, a motorist might think it acceptable to travel at up to 35 mph.
The January West Mercia Police press release states, “I want West Mercia Police to do everything possible to protect people using our roads and lead the way in ensuring enforcement activity, particularly around the fatal four causes, which are drink and drug driving, speeding, mobile phone use and seat belts. The speed limits on our roads are set for good reason and I want our local communities to have clarity around their understanding as to what speed limits are and mean.”
Further to this, The National Police Chiefs Council quoted Chief Constable Bangham saying, “On average 5 people are killed on our roads every day. Our role is to help make our roads safer & we will seek compliance with the law to help prevent the tragedies that happen too often on our roads.”
Whilst there is no doubt that speeding (especially motorcycle riders) is at the route of significant numbers of fatalities and that evidence strongly indicates that attitudes need to change; the press reports significant disagreement with the proposed changes and even some safety concerns that over observation of a riders speed could lead to distraction and loss of concentration. A more cynical view expressed by some is that it’s all about raising additional penalty revenue. According to the Telegraph, one MP said a zero tolerance policy would only ‘make criminals of good drivers’.
Recent Department for Transport figures report 1,792 road deaths in 2016. This was up 4 per cent from 2015 and the highest number of road deaths since 2011.