New guidelines on speeding in England and Wales
Most police forces in England and Wales have accepted new speeding guidelines recently proposed that allow motorists to travel at 86mph and avoid points on their licence. However it doesn’t mean you get away completely free and persistent offenders will, of course, be punished. It now means drivers can pay to attend a speed awareness course instead, if caught at up to 10% above the limit plus 9mph.
The courses tend to last half a day and are a mix of lectures from outsourced companies (not the police) and assessment tests. There is no pass or fail but it is designed to show attendees how well they judge speeds, distances and road hazards as well as demonstrating the outcomes of failing to drive apropriately
37 out of 44 forces had signed up to the new system
Critics say the rules are a money-making exercise and allow law breaking.
‘Educational experience’ Previously, only those travelling at up to 10% above the limit plus 6mph could be offered one of the courses. But the amendments were agreed by chief constables at a meeting of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in January.
For a 30mph zone, the upper limit for a speeding course would be 42mph. This would rise to 86mph for motorways and other major roads, although the official limit remains the same.
ACPO said the figure at which a course could be offered was a decision for individual forces, and not all would make it available for higher speeds. Drivers can only attend one speed awareness course in a three-year period.
ACPO also said the increase in courses for drivers had been backed by road safety minister Mike Penning. The police organisation said the changes would allow more drivers to “undergo an invaluable educational experience rather than receive driving licence penalty points and a fine”.
A spokesman for APCO said: “Over recent years, the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads has fallen significantly, reducing both the toll of personal tragedy and the cost to the public purse. This reduction has been achieved through a combination of improved engineering, enforcement and education of which safety cameras are an important element.”
At the start of the month, speed cameras across Oxfordshire were switched back on eight months after they were turned off. Funding was withdrawn for 72 cameras and 89 mobile sites last August as part of budget cuts in the county.
But police said deaths and serious injuries on the area’s roads went up following the cameras being switched off. Money for the cameras to be introduced has come from speed awareness courses and backroom savings.