In December 2015 the Department for Transport produced a wide reaching paper on road safety, called “Moving Britain Ahead”. It makes for interesting reading, as it covers a wide range of proposals that will affect us all. This article deals with the proposal that there should be tougher consequences for those caught speeding.
The current position
Speeding is an offence for which there are a range of consequences. At its worst – where the speed recorded is more than 30 mph over the limit, a court may disqualify the driver from driving for a short time. Otherwise, a court may impose a range of penalty points, from 3 – 6, to reflect the excess speed recorded. There is more information about the offence itself here.
Drivers caught travelling up to ten miles an hour over the limit can expect three penalty points. Of course many of those drivers are offered, and accept, a fixed penalty of three penalty points and a fine of £100. If this is offered, most people would do well to accept this offer since it avoids the inconvenience and expense of court. However, those at risk of totting, or who have committed several offences in a short space of time, ought to take legal advice before doing so.
Drivers who are caught travelling between eleven to thirty mph over the limit generally receive between 4 to 6 penalty points at court. There is much that can be done to explain these offences by referring to a driver’s particular reason for speeding on that occasion, and to persuade a court to impose fewer penalty points. If you are in this position, please contact us to discuss your case.
Those who are caught travelling more than 30 mph over the limit face a driving ban. This ban is not inevitable, so if you fall into this category do not panic, but do take legal advice as soon as possible. There are many arguments that can be used to try to persuade a court not to disqualify drivers, or to reduce the ban significantly. If you take legal advice early, you will be able to start preparing the evidence needed to support these arguments.
However, many drivers are lucky enough to be offered a Speed Awareness Course. These courses cost money, but allow drivers to escape receiving any penalty points. People who are offered a course are generally very happy to accept. However, the Department for Transport’s paper hints that this all may be about to change.
The Department for Transport has committed itself to improving road safety, and speed awareness courses appear to be the focus of its attention.
Quite a lot of research has been conducted into the effectiveness of the courses. Most drivers who complete a course indicate that they do change the way they drive. However, it does appear that these changes are not permanent, and so speeds creep up again. The Department for Transport does now seem to think that being tougher on speeders is the way to prevent this.
Whilst the Department for Transport has not committed itself to any particular action yet, it is notable that its paper only refers to speeding in two contexts: Evaluating the effectiveness of speed awareness courses; and taking tough action against those who speed.
It seems safe to assume that in the future there will be fewer courses on offer, more fixed penalties and prosecutions, and so more drivers at risk of a driving ban.
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