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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2004 17:18 
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May 16, 2004

Speeding drivers could get six points
David Cracknell, Political Editor

THE government is to reduce penalties for minor speeding offences but increase the punishment for drivers who blatantly disregard the limits.

Ministers are to introduce a flexible penalty points system. Drivers caught marginally over the speed limit will incur two points on their licence and those well in excess will receive up to six points.

The move is an attempt to defuse growing public anger over the use of speed cameras and ensure that thousands of motorists are not banned from the roads for relatively minor infringements.

At the moment, drivers breaking the speed limit receive three points on their licences regardless of the gravity of an offence. Anybody who accumulates 12 points ? or commits four speeding offences ? within three years suffers an automatic ban.

Ministers are concerned that motorists who need their driving licences for work are losing their livelihoods. In 2002, 30,000 drivers were disqualified after ?totting up? 12 points.

Alistair Darling, the transport secretary, believes that the new points regime will help to restore public confidence in speed cameras which, he insists, save lives and are not just a means of generating revenue for the Treasury.

?We must reduce speeding but the public must have confidence that the punishment fits the crime,? said Darling. ?The best camera is one that doesn?t issue a single ticket as it means people are driving safely and within the speed limit.?

Police chiefs predict that 3m motorists will receive £60 fines and three penalty points for speeding offences this year, compared with 260,000 people in 1996. The most recent Home Office figures showed an 18% jump in speeding fines in just one year.

Camera partnerships between local authorities and police forces keep most of the money to cover the cost of speed enforcement, but a surplus of £20m is expected to go to the Treasury this year.Under the new points system, which is expected to be put out to consultation next month following the local elections, a motorist caught doing 35mph in a 30mph zone is likely to receive two penalty points.

A driver travelling at 50mph in the same zone could incur four points, while somebody driving as fast as 60mph would get the maximum six points. Under the plans, the 12-point threshold for disqualification will remain in place.

At the moment drivers have some leeway over how much they can exceed a speed limit before they face prosecution. Under guidelines drawn up by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), speed cameras are triggered when a driver?s speed is measured at ?10% + 2mph? over the limit.

In a 30mph zone, this means cameras are triggered at 35mph, while in a 40mph zone they are set off at 46mph. However, Richard Brunstrom, chief constable of North Wales and chairman of the Acpo road safety committee, has warned that these thresholds could be lowered to 33mph and 43mph.

Independent research has shown that a motorist exceeding the average speed on a road by 25% is six times more likely to have an accident.

The row over Britain?s 5,000 speed cameras has forced the Department for Transport to conduct a review of where they are sited. Fixed cameras are generally supposed to be set up at accident blackspots where four people have been killed or seriously injured in speed-related incidents over three years.

Figures to be published by the Department for Transport next month will claim cameras are cutting deaths and serious injuries by 35%. But their effectiveness is disputed by lobby groups such as Safe Speed, who say road deaths increased by 5% in the past year in 19 police force areas.

Despite growing cynicism that the cameras are as a money-raising device, another 1,500, costing £32,000 each, are to be installed this year.

Some forces have begun to react to the mounting opposition. Earlier this year the Metropolitan police announced that, following a public outcry, it would switch off almost two-thirds of the 665 cameras in its area.

Paul Smith
Our scrap speed cameras petition got over 28,000 sigs
The Safe Speed campaign demands a return to intelligent road safety

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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2004 19:47 
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Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2004 18:42
Posts: 1283
Location: Essex
Too little, Too late !!

I rather suspect that this is a fudge trying to placate the motorist, now that fuel is on the rise (again) the powers that be are beginning to realise that us motorists are a very unhappy bunch of campers and if they don't do something it is going to hurt them at election time.

Has anyone seen today's Daily Mail ???

It is running the above story, and has the league table for forces issuing tickets:

Essex is top with 199,201 tickets, however, despite this the number of deaths rose from 87 in 2000 to 116 last year (Home office figures).

Congratulations Essex Camera Partnership !!! You've obviously made a huge difference.

Gordon Brown saying I got the country into it's current economic mess so I'll get us out of it is the same as Bomber Harris nipping over to Dresden and offering to repair a few windows.

Chaos, panic and disorder - my work here is done.

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