Under the proposed new system, which is in consultation until October, drivers caught travelling just over the speed limit will receive two points rather than three. Drivers well over the limit will still receive six points.
However, it is likely that the degree of leeway for drivers travelling just over the limit will be reduced, which could result in more, smaller convictions. According to research carried out by contract hire firm Interleasing among 50,000 fleet drivers, 94% of those caught speeding in a 30mph limit would only fall into the low and medium penalty areas.
Of these, nearly 50% were caught travelling between 31mph and 39mph. Under the system, their punishment would be two penalty points and a £40 fine. This would allow them six speeding convictions before losing their licence instead of the current four.
Diarmuid Fahy, accident services manager at Interleasing, said: ‘The new system has been designed to catch more speeding drivers. It’s widely accepted that two or three miles over the speed limit is all right but these new rules suggest fines will be given even if you are one mile over the speed limit. In reality, what this could mean for many fleet managers is an increase in the amount of speeding fines they have to process.
‘Changing the fining system isn’t going to have a significant effect on the speed people travel. Our research shows that the majority of fleet drivers don’t fall into the high speeding category but do we really want them to get the message that they can be convicted of speeding six times before they lose their licence? We need to change this attitude and fleet managers should be making sure their drivers know that speeding is not acceptable, whatever fine they receive.’
Part of the Government’s strategy for educating drivers includes more speed awareness courses. Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said: ‘We also welcome the police initiative to roll out speed awareness courses for first-time ‘low-end’ offenders, for whom this looks to the most effective way to change their behaviour. I hope these courses, and continued enforcement, will encourage the minority of drivers who speed to slow down – for the sake of their and other road users’ safety.’
Speed awareness courses should be offered to motorists caught doing high speeds as well as, according to the RAC Foundation.
Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation wants to see more courses for habitual law-breakers and first time and low level offenders. He said: It has been clearly demonstrated that these courses have a favourable effect in changing the driving behaviour and perception of speed.’
Proposed speeding offence changes
|Lower penalty||Medium penalty||Higher penalty|
|2 points and £40 fine||3 points and £60 fine||6 points and £100 fine|
|Speed limit (mph)||Speed up and including (mph)||Speed (mph)||Speed at or above (mph)|
|20||No lower penalty||Up to an including 31mph||32|