The Enforcement of the Speed Limits.

Currently there is a big debate on whether or not we (road users) should be penalised for driving 1mph over the speed limit. Historically we’ve been given 10% plus 2 mph.

Which, if either, is correct?

The decision whether to use speed cameras or not, or to implement a zero-tolerance or not seems to be that of the Chief Constable. That is – it could be different in each police area!

What is also interesting is how many police areas do not use speed cameras at all.

Chief constable Anthony Bangham, West Mercia Chief Constable, released a statement via the West Mercia force.

He said: “The number of people who are killed and seriously injured on our roads across West Mercia is increasing and the fatal four causes feature highly as reasons behind these.

“The police have a significant role to play in enforcing the law and we are the single agency who have the ability to do so.

“Speaking at a national conference yesterday as the national lead for roads policing I and colleagues debated how we could further protect people on our roads.

Chief Insp Ian Hanson, chairman of Greater Manchester Police Federation, criticised Mr Bangham’s speech, arguing the measures would be “alienating those communities we are there to serve”.

“I find it absolutely staggering that the effective policy lead for policing should show himself to be so out of touch,” Mr Hanson said.

“Mr Bangham says that motorists should stop ‘whingeing’… but if I got a speeding ticket in his home force of West Mercia for doing 1mph over the speed limit I think I would have a lot to whinge about – living in an area where in the last year violent crime has gone up 17 per cent, public order offences are up 38 per cent and overall crime is up five per cent… and my Chief Constable seemed so distracted and intent on going backwards.”

I have two opinions on this.

  • 1 It is now so easy for the police to collect speeding convictions by using electronic cameras. It could be seen as a cash cow that doesn’t need manpower.
  • 2 The “fatal four causes” is a term used to imply that they are causes of accident. Using the mobile ‘phone, drinking and driver both unquestionable do. But the 4th – not using the seat belt?

The police the terms wildly. They talk about safety cameras and the lack of using seatbelts as a cause of accidents.

What is undeniable is ALL of these increase deaths and injuries.

Basic physics (F=MV2, where is V=Velocity) tells us that doubling the speed from 20 mph to 40 mph quadruples the impact force.

So, reducing speed and the proper use of seatbelts reduce the damage and injury in an accident. It is also true that speed does cause accidents.

I remember seeing a documentary about car accidents that actually suggested that only 5% of accidents were caused by driving over the speed limit. However; that same documentary went onto say that more accidents were caused by driving at an inappropriate speed, for the conditions, whilst still within the limit.

The Police continually call Speed cameras ‘Safety’ cameras. Well which do they record?

If there was as much of a focus on safe driving as there is on speeding, I think that the fall in accidents, injuries and deaths would greater than any other single factor.

The on-going savings to the public purse would be substantial.

NHS – hospital treatment

NHS – non-hospital treatment

Ambulance services

Fire services

Police attending accidents

Police Accident Investigations

The cost of recovering the vehicles

And so-on, the list continues

Of course, it would also reduce those injured, killed, traumatised etc and may even reduce drivers’ premiums.

It is possible that the greater use of dash-cams may act as the ‘safety’ cameras the police need.

So, the argument about a Zero-Tolerance on speeding?

In Legal terms                     31 in a 30 limit is illegal.

In Practical terms               the zero-tolerance enforcement is only practical by automatic cameras. Will it have much of a benefit, possible                                                       only the government coffers.