TWO SPEEDING FINES AND YOU'RE BANNED IN NEW CAMERA BLITZ
CRACKDOWN: Motorways targeted
Monday September 29,2008
By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Correspondent
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DRIVERS who speed to excess will be banned from the road after just two offences.
Those who go 15mph over the limit in urban areas or 25mph on motorways will get six penalty points.
This means they will hit the 12-point limit and be barred from the road after two convictions, under the changes expected to be announced next month.
Currently drivers caught speeding are hit with a three-point penalty.
The Government plans to target motorways under the new plans with digital cameras that calculate a driver’s average speed.
But critics attacked the move to place speed traps on motorways, insisting they remain the safest roads.
Others said it was unfair to increase penalties at the top end of offending but not reduce them at the lower scale.
It comes two weeks after motoring groups criticised plans to expand the use of hi-tech cameras which measure average speeds over a distance on motorways and some residential areas.
This month a senior police officer called for a review into the use of speed cameras, claiming they are “unfair” and damaging public confidence.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said of the latest move: “The system should work both ways. If greater penalties are given for worse offences, then smaller ones should be given for more minor infringements.”
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The Department for Transport is expected to announce the tougher penalties for the worst speeders next month. It will mean six points for driving at 45mph in a 30mph area, 55mph in a 40mph zone and 95mph on motorways.
Road safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: “In cases of extreme speeding only, there is a proposal to increase the penalty to six points to ensure the punishment corresponds better to the offence committed.”
But experts have criticised the move to target motorway drivers and warned the crackdown will do little to improve road safety.
Motorways account for up to 180 deaths a year – five per cent of those killed on the roads.
Government figures released last week showed that 13 per cent of fatal accidents and eight per cent of serious crashes are caused by speeding drivers.
The main causes are failing to look for other drivers, errors of judgment and careless driving. Quentin Wilson, a former presenter of the BBC television show Top Gear, said: “Everyone knows motorways are the safest roads and a discretionary approach to prosecuting has always worked.”
Motoring organisations said it was unfair to penalise those driving at excessive speeds while abandoning proposals to reduce penalties for those who inadvertently creep over the limit.
Ministers dropped plans to introduce two-point penalties for those exceeding the limit by just a few mph after complaints from road safety groups.
They are also expected to reject calls from police and campaigners to reduce the drink-drive limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100mg of blood to 50mg. And in another proposal, motorists found to be driving carelessly could face £60 on-the-spot fines.
The Department for Transport believes the new measures could save up to 400 lives a year.
It emerged this month that new long-reach, average speed traps will enforce the limit over significant stretches of road, including motorways, accident blackspots and even some residential areas.
The move comes after a trial of the so-called “vulture cameras” in Scotland was deemed a success.
Opponents claim they are a cash cow designed to squeeze yet more money out of Britain’s motorists and generate extra revenue for the Government.
This month Ian Johnston, President of the Police Superintendents’ Association, called for a review in to how speed cameras are used.
He said many drivers do not believe they help cut road deaths and said the police’s reliance on them should be reassessed.