19th August 2015

The new zero-tolerance approach to speeding

Sometimes it’s normal for motorists to temporarily drift a little over the designated speed limit. After all, who amongst us hasn’t unwittingly started to push 32mph in a 30 zone?

Up until recently, police forces up and down the country have generally allowed for a small ‘margin for error’ on drivers slightly exceeding the limit. Don’t get comfortable with that leniency though – that margin for error is about to be scrapped altogether.

A discretionary measure

The speeding ‘margin for error’ in England and Wales has generally been 10% of the posted speed limit + 2 mph. This means that, in a 30 zone, drivers reaching up to 35mph (30 + 3 [10%] + 2) may not necessarily end up being penalised, but only at the discretion of law enforcers.

The guidelines were introduced in 2000 to combat the potential inaccuracies in automatic speed cameras, providing motorists with peace of mind that they wouldn’t be mistakenly issued with fines. With the advancements made in the technology over the years, police are now confident that speed-measuring equipment can now pinpoint exact speeds.

Reducing or raising the risk?

This police clampdown on the speed limit is being put into effect to help reduce numbers of road accidents, which have reportedly risen by 6% over the last year. However, some road safety campaigning groups have expressed concerns that the change in procedure could mean motorists will check their speedometer more frequently, rather than keeping a look out on the road ahead.

Drivers in Scotland are the first to experience the zero-tolerance measures this autumn, with England and Wales set to follow suit if the scheme proves successful. Those found to be going slightly over the limit will receive a formal warning through the post, before being lumped with a £100 fine and three penalty points on the second occurrence.

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