New Crackdown On Speeding Drivers

Posted on: 21 November 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Speeding drivers banned after two offences under new safety measures.

Motorists could lose their licence after only two speeding offences under safety measures to be announced.

The government proposal would see drivers caught significantly over the limit given six penalty points. A driver with 12 points on their licence is disqualified automatically.

Currently, most motoring offences are dealt with by a standard fixed-penalty notice of a fine and three penalty points. Only a court can impose a penalty of more than three points for a speeding offence.

The new system would see drivers receiving six-point penalties without a court hearing. Drivers caught at 50mph in a 30mph zone, 60mph in a 40mph zone, and between 90mph and 100mph in a 70mph zone, could all be liable.

Under the proposed two-tier system, however, those who exceed the speed limit by only a few miles an hour would incur two penalty points. This means that drivers repeatedly caught just over the limit would not be banned until their seventh offence.

Ministers believe that a “sliding scale” of punishments for speeding offences is necessary to reduce the death toll on roads. Last year 2,946 people died, 57 of them children.

More than 1.1 million drivers are already on the brink of a ban, with six or more points on their licence and motoring groups expressed concerns that the new guidelines could drastically increase that number.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists is worried that the new system could result in some drivers being banned for two offences in one trip.

“If a driver went through two cameras at excessive speed during one journey, they could automatically lose their licence under the proposal,” a spokesman says. It also expressed concern that introducing a two-point penalty would undermine the Government’s message that even small breaches of the limit can kill.

Ministers are expected to promote speed awareness courses as an alternative to the loss of three points. They are reluctant to reduce the number of penalty points for speeding in a 30mph zone. Research has shown that a pedestrian who is hit by a car at 35mph is twice as likely to be killed as one hit at 30mph.

The new speeding guidelines are set out in a Road Safety consultation paper from Jim Fitzpatrick, the Transport Minister. It is expected to run for several months before ministers enshrine the proposals in law.

The Government will also announce that it has backed away from lowering the drink-driving limit, which will remain unchanged. Britain has one of the highest limits in Europe at 80mg of alcohol to 100ml blood. Doctors and road safety campaigners had backed a cut to 50mg, enough to put someone over the limit after a single drink. Ministers are understood to want to concentrate on the small number of people who drive while well over the legal limit.

As part of the shift in emphasis, ministers will expand the “High Risk Offenders Scheme” targeting persistent drink-drivers. This could see friends encouraged to tell police about those who frequently drive while drunk.

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