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Bad Driving: Excessive Speed

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The Government agency Highways England states that its aim is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in road accidents by 40% over the next five years.

Driving too fast is poor driving. Learner drivers are taught by their instructors whilst taking their driving lessons that speed limits for roads are not target speeds and should be seen as only the maximum speed for the road. Paragraph 125 of The Highway Code states that the speed limit is the absolute maximum and does not mean it is safe to drive at that speed.

Some drivers see speed limit enforcement by the police as another means of the Government taxing motorists and that the Government is using speeding fines and fixed penalty notices as a means of financing the cash-strapped police forces.

The minimum penalty for speeding is £100 and 3 penalty points added to the persona’s driving licence. A motorist could lose their driving licence if they get more than 12 penalty points within a 3 year period.

The latest year for which data is available is 2013 and information from the police states that in England and Wales 611,849 drivers were caught by speed cameras breaking a road’s speed limit. Data for 2013 provided by West Yorkshire Police states that during the year 17,582 drivers were issued with a fixed penalty notice after being caught by a speed camera breaking the speed limit.

The law states that if a motorist is to be fined after being caught speeding by a speed camera, the motor vehicle’s registered keeper (not necessarily the actual speeding driver) must be sent a notice of intended prosecution within 14 days of the alleged speeding offence.

The Government’s view is that speed cameras are part of its strategy to reduce road casualties and that speed cameras are used on roads where speed related accidents have occurred. The Government advises that research shows that speed cameras do cause drivers to reduce their speed and therefore reduce the risk of accidents and, in particular, reduce the likelihood of fatal accidents and road users being seriously injured. Speed cameras are effective on roads where other types of traffic calming measures, such as speed humps or chicanes to narrow the road, are not suitable.

Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.

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