Would you be in favour of a cut in the speed limit? One expert believes that a 5 per cent reduction in maximum speeds – as little as 1mph in some cases ‑ would lead to a 30 per cent drop in fatal traffic crashes.
And what about traffic enforcement cameras and 20mph zones? When both became a part of everyday motoring life, they were greeted with dismay by many drivers. But evidence produced at the Speed Summit, held by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), shows they’re now becoming more accepted.
Speed is an emotive issue among drivers. The Department for Transport has just revealed numbers caught speeding is higher than any other year in the past decade. Nearly 6000 drivers were caught exceeding the speed limit every day in England and Wales. But inappropriate or excessive speed are two contributory factors most often recorded by police at the scene of crashes. Here are some of the latest facts behind speed and speeding.
Would cutting the speed limit save lives?
If you’re caught exceeding the speed limit by a little, you may have the option of a speed awareness course
Drivers who get caught speeding can be offered the chance to take a speed awareness course rather than having their licence endorsed with three points and taking a fine. The classes, known as the National Speed Awareness Course (NSAC), are part of the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS).
Speed awareness courses first started running in 2006. But they were only operated at a local level and nationally there was little consistency behind them. The national scheme addressed this and has been in action since 2008. Last year, 1.19 million drivers in the UK attended one of these courses. With the increase in the number of drivers being caught speeding, that’s up by 165 per cent since 2010. Read on to find out more about the NSAC.
What is a speed awareness course?
More than four times as many speeders are caught on camera than by officers
A fifth of drivers (21 per cent) think new speeding fines will have little effect. Three quarters (73 per cent) of those believe the lack of police enforcement means drivers will ignore the new fines, even though they could be hit harder in the pocket if they are caught. And 74 per cent of drivers want the speed limit on UK motorways to be increased to 80mph.
Research into the attitudes of British drivers to speeding by Green Flag revealed that new speeding guidelines, which come into effect on April 24, 2017, are unlikely to yield the desired results. The government made the changes after some local authorities in the UK reported a significant increase in drivers caught speeding compared to the previous year.
New fines will see drivers hit with a penalty that could cost them up to 175 per cent of their relevant weekly wage. According to Government figures the average weekly wage is £507. It means a driver who exceeds 101mph could be banned for 56 days and receive a £887.25 fine. Green Flag’s Simon Henrick said: “Even though this new fine structure could leave some out of pocket, drivers seem to think speeding is such a serious offence that it deserves more rigorous enforcement by the authorities.”
More speeders caught by camera
‘Police, Camera, Action!’ used to be best known as an ITV television show that screened clips of reckless drivers failing to outrun the police on Britain’s roads. But increasingly the title is being adopted by more cynical drivers who feel that police are treating speed cameras technology to raise revenue.
The mood among motorists changed markedly after Olly Martins, Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, revealed to the Home Affairs Select Committee last week that he could raise up to an extra £1million from cameras.