Repeal / Review Speeding Law

Whilst no-one should condone irresponsible driving, and driving at a speed which is higher than the road conditions safely allow is clearly irresponsible, the current approach to setting speed limits, their enforcement and the resulting penalties imposed for breach is over-simplistic and over-punitive.

1) The problem with road speed limits is that they can only ever be set as a subjective guideline.  i.e. What might be a relatively safe speed on a particular road on a summer's evening in clear, dry conditions may be wholly unsuitable on a snowy winter's morning during rush hour.

2) Further, there are many examples of road speed limits being reduced arbitrarily where there have been no obvious changes to the surrounding road conditions. Why is this allowed?

3) Making breach of any speed limit a criminal offence, with the associated fines or court appearance, insurance premium impact and emotional worry involved, seems unreasonably disproportionate to what is essentially a victimless crime. (Note that speeding in itself is victimless but accidents resulting from excessive, unsafe speeds are not).

4) Current enforcement of speed limits is laughably apathetic. Given that we now have the roadside technology to validate the average speed of most journeys, we could theoretically enforce limits with zero tolerance. However, this would no doubt be rather unpopular and seen as infringement of civil liberties. Currently, whether you get caught speeding is mostly down to (bad) luck and it's a chance that most of the public seem willing to take at most times. This makes a nonsense of the "limits" that have been set.

5) The arguments that lower speeds, enforceable through lower limits, mean lower risk are facile. Everyone understands that if we all drove at two miles per hour (preferably with a man walking in front with a red flag), then there'd be fewer accidents, injuries and deaths. However, no-one seems to think that enforcing a two mile per hour limit is a great idea. Why? Because drivers accept a certain level of risk every time they take to the road – setting and enforcing an arbitrary speed limit, which is largely ignored, does little to reduce this risk level.

6) The fact is that the vast majority of the Great British public do not obey the set speed limit. Rather, they use common sense and experience to determine what is a safe speed given constantly changing road parameters. Given that the government's job is to reflect the will of the people, then why is the majority being ignored?

7) What other British law is there (and I'm sure someone can think of one?) which constantly varies depending on your geographical location and point in time? If a driver is concentrating on an oncoming tractor, and fails to notice the speed limit changing from 40mph to 30mph due to temporary roadworks, is it fair that they can subsequently be charged with breaking the law?

So, my suggestion is to change the law and convert speed limits to speed guidelines where travelling at a higher speed than the guideline is no longer a criminal offence. We should refocus current "enforcement" efforts on educating drivers to travel with a higher level of personal responsibility and treating excessive speed as an aggravating factor in any dangerous driving charge.

Why is this idea important?

Whilst no-one should condone irresponsible driving, and driving at a speed which is higher than the road conditions safely allow is clearly irresponsible, the current approach to setting speed limits, their enforcement and the resulting penalties imposed for breach is over-simplistic and over-punitive.

1) The problem with road speed limits is that they can only ever be set as a subjective guideline.  i.e. What might be a relatively safe speed on a particular road on a summer's evening in clear, dry conditions may be wholly unsuitable on a snowy winter's morning during rush hour.

2) Further, there are many examples of road speed limits being reduced arbitrarily where there have been no obvious changes to the surrounding road conditions. Why is this allowed?

3) Making breach of any speed limit a criminal offence, with the associated fines or court appearance, insurance premium impact and emotional worry involved, seems unreasonably disproportionate to what is essentially a victimless crime. (Note that speeding in itself is victimless but accidents resulting from excessive, unsafe speeds are not).

4) Current enforcement of speed limits is laughably apathetic. Given that we now have the roadside technology to validate the average speed of most journeys, we could theoretically enforce limits with zero tolerance. However, this would no doubt be rather unpopular and seen as infringement of civil liberties. Currently, whether you get caught speeding is mostly down to (bad) luck and it's a chance that most of the public seem willing to take at most times. This makes a nonsense of the "limits" that have been set.

5) The arguments that lower speeds, enforceable through lower limits, mean lower risk are facile. Everyone understands that if we all drove at two miles per hour (preferably with a man walking in front with a red flag), then there'd be fewer accidents, injuries and deaths. However, no-one seems to think that enforcing a two mile per hour limit is a great idea. Why? Because drivers accept a certain level of risk every time they take to the road – setting and enforcing an arbitrary speed limit, which is largely ignored, does little to reduce this risk level.

6) The fact is that the vast majority of the Great British public do not obey the set speed limit. Rather, they use common sense and experience to determine what is a safe speed given constantly changing road parameters. Given that the government's job is to reflect the will of the people, then why is the majority being ignored?

7) What other British law is there (and I'm sure someone can think of one?) which constantly varies depending on your geographical location and point in time? If a driver is concentrating on an oncoming tractor, and fails to notice the speed limit changing from 40mph to 30mph due to temporary roadworks, is it fair that they can subsequently be charged with breaking the law?

So, my suggestion is to change the law and convert speed limits to speed guidelines where travelling at a higher speed than the guideline is no longer a criminal offence. We should refocus current "enforcement" efforts on educating drivers to travel with a higher level of personal responsibility and treating excessive speed as an aggravating factor in any dangerous driving charge.

Speed related speeding fines

Introduce a system where you get higher fines and more penalty points for the higher percentage above the speed limit you are caught doing; with a de minimis set of 10%.

For example :-

In a 30 MPH limit :-

Caught doing 32 MPH – No action!

Caught doing 39 MPH – £60 fine – 2 Penalty Points

Caught doing 49 MPH – £180 fine and 4 PPs

Caught doing 59 MPH – £500 fine and 7 PPs

And so on…………………………..

 

Why is this idea important?

Introduce a system where you get higher fines and more penalty points for the higher percentage above the speed limit you are caught doing; with a de minimis set of 10%.

For example :-

In a 30 MPH limit :-

Caught doing 32 MPH – No action!

Caught doing 39 MPH – £60 fine – 2 Penalty Points

Caught doing 49 MPH – £180 fine and 4 PPs

Caught doing 59 MPH – £500 fine and 7 PPs

And so on…………………………..

 

Make the police show the evidence of speeding offense.

Currently if you are 'caught' speeding you are not allowed to see the evidence against you unless you wish to plead not guilty. i.e. go to court.

The photo evidence that the police have should as a matter of course be sent to you with the letter.  The reason why this is important is that often speed cameras especially hand held ones can be 'timedout'  i.e. the speed they show is the previous cars speed.  I have challenged this and won on more than one occasion.

I find it offensive that i can not see the evidence against me unless i challenge the accusation.  This is not a police state.  They work for US.

Why is this idea important?

Currently if you are 'caught' speeding you are not allowed to see the evidence against you unless you wish to plead not guilty. i.e. go to court.

The photo evidence that the police have should as a matter of course be sent to you with the letter.  The reason why this is important is that often speed cameras especially hand held ones can be 'timedout'  i.e. the speed they show is the previous cars speed.  I have challenged this and won on more than one occasion.

I find it offensive that i can not see the evidence against me unless i challenge the accusation.  This is not a police state.  They work for US.

Abolish speeding fines and increase penalties for damage caused.

Government's own statistics show speeding causes less than 3% of accidents and is a contributory factor in about 5% of accidents.

So why spend 80% of resources combating 5% of  malevolent behaviour?

Answer

Because it is a soft target and revenue stream.

Why not abolish speeding as an offence and punish drivers much more heavily if they actually cause damage or injury?

Why is this idea important?

Government's own statistics show speeding causes less than 3% of accidents and is a contributory factor in about 5% of accidents.

So why spend 80% of resources combating 5% of  malevolent behaviour?

Answer

Because it is a soft target and revenue stream.

Why not abolish speeding as an offence and punish drivers much more heavily if they actually cause damage or injury?

Get rid of speed bumps and cameras

I think it is crazy to have so many speed bumps and speed cameras. Here is my argument against them:

Speed bumps – these restrict very much where I can drive. I have a classic car which was designed with a low chasis compare to modern cars. Many times my exhaust scrapes on these, so to prevent myself from having a bill of £90 every month for a new front pipe I avoid speed bumps wherever possible. This is not always possible. Also, I can't begin to imagine how the emergency services cope with these. Surely it must slow them down?!

Speed cameras – these can actually CAUSE accidents. Drivers become too conscious of speed and spend more time looking at their speedometer than the road because they are afraid of getting fined and points on their license. You just have to look at Durham City where there are no fixed speed cameras. This city has one of the lowest rates of road traffic accidents in Britain. Perhaps those signs that flash up your speed would be enough to embarrass drivers into slowing down as others will see they are speeding? They seem very effective from what I have seen.

Whilst I don't endorse speeding I think the country has gone to town on this issue and gone too far!

My civil liberties are restricted because of speed bumps (why should I change my car?) and it can be very stressful watching your speed in certain areas where there is an abundance of money-making speed cameras.

Why is this idea important?

I think it is crazy to have so many speed bumps and speed cameras. Here is my argument against them:

Speed bumps – these restrict very much where I can drive. I have a classic car which was designed with a low chasis compare to modern cars. Many times my exhaust scrapes on these, so to prevent myself from having a bill of £90 every month for a new front pipe I avoid speed bumps wherever possible. This is not always possible. Also, I can't begin to imagine how the emergency services cope with these. Surely it must slow them down?!

Speed cameras – these can actually CAUSE accidents. Drivers become too conscious of speed and spend more time looking at their speedometer than the road because they are afraid of getting fined and points on their license. You just have to look at Durham City where there are no fixed speed cameras. This city has one of the lowest rates of road traffic accidents in Britain. Perhaps those signs that flash up your speed would be enough to embarrass drivers into slowing down as others will see they are speeding? They seem very effective from what I have seen.

Whilst I don't endorse speeding I think the country has gone to town on this issue and gone too far!

My civil liberties are restricted because of speed bumps (why should I change my car?) and it can be very stressful watching your speed in certain areas where there is an abundance of money-making speed cameras.