We'll pay travel costs for banned speeders
Firm's incredible offer to Ulster drivers who lose their licence
By Jonathan McCambridge
19 July 2006
A car insurance company is responding to public anger over speed cameras by offering to pay the travel expenses of any of its members in Ulster who get banned from the road because of penalty points.
Currently, anyone who gets caught by one of Northern Ireland's speed cameras receives a £60 fine and three penalty points on their licence.
After 12 penalty points, they receive a disqualification.
But the New Road Safety Bill, being considered at Westminster, could introduce variable fixed penalties, which means that the usual three points for an offence could be increased to as much as six points. This means motorists could lose their licence after just two offences.
There are more than 6,000 speed cameras across the UK and it is believed that nearly one million people are one conviction away from losing their licence. It is also believed that almost five million people across the UK have received penalty points.
There are currently four fixed and eight mobile speed cameras in Ulster, although a new camera system which works out the average speed of vehicles is due to be unveiled near Newry soon.
Insurance company LicenceGuard has taken the unusual step of reimbursing their members if they lose their licence because of speed cameras.
A spokeswoman said: "Licence-Guard excludes dangerous driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"With the dramatic increase in police resources focused on speeding, even the most careful of drivers could find themselves disqualified.
"In the event of disqualification, a member can use their membership to help go about their business and recreation - reducing the temptation to carry on driving under an illegal status."
Since 2002, speed cameras in Ulster have caught over 66,500 speeding motorists; all of them received a £60 fine.
The money goes directly to London where it becomes part of a UK Consolidated Fund. It is then redistributed by the Government.
The cameras are unpopular with many local road users who view them as a tax on motorists.
Fixed cameras are located on the Antrim, Saintfield, Springfield and Newtownards Roads.