Category Archives: speeding

The New Realities Of Speeding!

Most of us are guilty of speeding at one time or another. The authorities have traditionally allowed a tolerance of 10 percent of the posted limit plus 2mph before issuing a penalty. This meant if you were travelling at 57mph in a 50mph zone you were likely to get away with it – maybe!

However, this was based on giving the benefit of doubt to a driver and the questionable accuracy of the existing equipment.

From April 24th 2017 this could all be about to change.

With reliable technology now installed in most vehicles and the desire of government to make our roads even safer, the discretionary ‘leeway’ is likely to be withdrawn.

In addition, magistrates are to be issued with new guidelines for speeding offences. These will place speeding misdemeanors in one of three bands:

Band A – for the least serious speeding offence

Band B – for speeding offences regarded as more serious than Band A

Band C – for speeding offences regarded as being very serious.

The guidelines and penalties issued by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales are set out in the document below:

The full document can be read here

As you can see, the new penalties are now based on a percentage of weekly income of the offender as follows:

Band A – starting at 50 percent of weekly income

Band B – starting at 100 percent of weekly income

Band C – starting at 150 percent of weekly income

Magistrates still have the power to show leniency if mitigating circumstances can be demonstrated.

Additionally, they are still at liberty to add points to a licence or disqualify a driver either temporarily or permanently.

It appears the increased cost of breaking the posted speed limit is about to outweigh the gamble of getting caught!

(Picture courtesy Ian Jones)

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Pointless Points?

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Information released in response to a Freedom of Information request by the Institute of Advanced Motorists has unearthed five drivers who individually have gained more than 37 points on their licences.

It is generally regarded that an individual who has accrued a total of 12 points, within a period of three years, will be disqualified from driving for a given period by a court. However, a judge is able to show leniency if it’s considered a ban will cause “exceptional hardship” to the individual.

So far so good.

Within the cases revealed, one driver had accrued a staggering 51 points, after being caught several times breaking the 30 mph limit and refusing to supply his driver details, while another held points for several speeding offences including one incident where he had been clocked at 109mph. He had also refused to supply his driver details.

Both of these drivers had claimed they would suffer “exceptional hardship” if they were disqualified from driving.

While it’s a good thing there is some leeway regarding an individual’s circumstances, surely there should also be consistency in the application of the law? After all, there will always be those who will flout the law and try to exploit loopholes to save themselves the inconvenience of a ban once they are caught.

Speed limits are there for a purpose – however frustrating they can sometimes be to an individual driver. They attempt to set a common standard and protect all road users from the excesses of the minority.

But, most importantly, they are there to try to protect us all from suffering the “exceptional hardship” of being involved in a road traffic incident, whether we are cyclists, drivers, horse riders or pedestrians.

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Speed Cameras – Deterrent or Cash Cow?

speed camera

Speed cameras tend to produce the same reaction as Marmite: you either love them or hate them.

Those on one side of the argument think they are a valuable road safety tool while their critics think they are nothing more than just another means of raising money from motorists.

Whichever side of the argument you may take, there are some interesting details to be found within the recently released Kent and Sussex speed camera statistics.

One camera in particular, recorded nearly 8,500 speeding drivers over the last 12 months.

Are speed cameras working?

If you take comfort from the number of people caught by the region’s ‘top’ camera last year – on the A22 Eastbourne Road at Halland – such satisfaction would be short lived. Let’s compare the stats from the previous three years:

2011-2012 4,902 drivers caught

2012-2013 7,126 drivers caught

2013-2014 8,430 drivers caught

An increase of over 3,500 in three years hardly suggests a deterrent.

Road safety campaigners still insist cameras are contributing to saving lives but the above figures seem to suggest this particular camera is having little, or no overall effect.

Are speed cameras a cash cow?

The revenue from fixed cameras in Kent and Sussex, as a whole, over the last 12 months was a staggering £3.3m. – up more than £1.1m from the previous year.

If you total the revenue collected in fines from all the cameras in the UK, it must add up to a pretty tidy sum. Quite how much of this revenue makes it’s way back into the road system is unknown. However, the accumulated interest  must be considerable.

For financial reasons alone, it seems speed cameras will be around for a good while yet.

With an increase in the installation of unmarked HADECS (often referred to as ‘stealth’ cameras),which are reported to have caught over 700 drivers in two months on the M25, it seems it’s both safer, and more prudent, to observe and obey the posted speed limit at all times.

The argument goes on!

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It’s Time For Drivers To Clear Their Own ‘Fog’

Sheppey_crash

Yesterday’s multi-vehicle pile-up on the Sheppey Crossing, in Kent, rightly made the headlines across the country.

Over 130 vehicles were involved in separate collisions and eight people were seriously injured whilst driving off the island, onto the mainland, in thick fog; it seems a miracle there were no fatalities.

The official investigation is still ongoing, but it seems certain that excessive speed for the conditions, while driving too close and without lights, were major contributory factors.

The foggy weather did not suddenly appear and the area of the collisions is well known for its changing visibility (the approach road is built upon marshland) – a fact, of which, locals are fully aware.

Predictably, calls are now being made for speed restrictions or cameras on the bridge; matrix warning signs of hazardous conditions and better lighting. Ironically, none of these is likely to have been useful in preventing the collisions in yesterday’s thick fog.

After all, if you don’t notice the fog it seems unlikely you will notice the warnings.

What did appear to be in short supply is common sense and an awareness of the consequences of driving without due care.

It seems it was a classic case of going too fast and getting nowhere!

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Sobering Technology Immobilising Drinkers

police(w)

Since vehicles first took to the road, the most publicised causes of accidents have been speeding and drink driving.

Whilst being caught for a speeding offence has become more likely with the commissioning of new technology, drink drivers often escape the law unless they are involved in an accident or stopped by the police whilst on the road. Often it is too late to prevent a fatality.

For company owners, having a driver who secretely drinks at the wheel can be hard to detect but more importantly lead to a costly legal nightmare – and possible closure of the business – if that driver causes a loss of life through driving whilst over-the-limit.

However, it seems that technology has finally caught up and now there is a device that can be fitted to a vehicle, that immobilises it completely, should the driver fail a breath test before starting the engine.

Sounds like a good idea?

At around £600 per unit the finance department might not immediately agree but, if it gains popularity, the prices should start falling.

One to watch…..

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Warning – Think Before You Flash

For decades, it has been a sign of camaraderie amongst motorists – even the AA’s patrolmen used to do it back in the days they rode motorcycles. But, apparently, it’s now becoming an offence.

What dastardly crime am I talking about? – the serious offence of warning other road users of a nearby police speedtrap.

Who can honestly say they have never been guilty of giving a quick flash of the headlights to warn oncoming drivers of a police presence by the side of the road? Yes, it’s sneaky, but then so is trying to disguise a laser gun as a daffodil in a lay-by. It’s been just part of the cat-and-mouse game most of us play with an imaginary policeman every time we take to the road.

Now, for the record, I am not endorsing those who regularly flaunt the law by speeding, nor am I endorsing those who are deluded enough to think they can drive like F1 stars.

All of us have exceeded the limit at some time; after all, it’s almost impossible to keep a modern car within the legal limits, at all times, in today’s changing flows of traffic.

Many motorists regard speed traps as being nothing more than money raisers for local authorities, the police or central government; they are seen as another form of road tax.

Lancashire Police appear to have decided to prove such suspicions right by imposing penalties on any driver caught committing the ‘new’ offence of “misuse of headlights” If you are caught, you face a fine of £30.

A spokesperson for the police said:

‘Speeding motorists need to be spoken to so they will seriously consider their irresponsible driving.’

while the AA condemned the action as a “legal and moral minefield”

The best comment, though, came from a spokesman from The Drivers’ Alliance

‘I don’t think there’s a difference between a road sign and a person giving a warning.”

Maybe the road signs will be targeted with fines next!

Meanwhile, we recommend you watch your speed – especially in Lancashire!

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