National news: Should drivers be penalised for going 1mph over the speed limit?

A speed camera van
A speed camera van
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Current guidance suggests police forces should only issue penalties for drivers caught at 10 per cent plus 2mph over the limit - for example 46mph in a 40mph

But a police boss today said penalising drivers who break the speed limit by 1mph was ‘out of touch’ and would ‘alienate communities’.

Chief Inspector Ian Hanson of Greater Manchester Police spoke out after the Chief Constable of West Mercia Police Anthony Bangham suggested ending the ‘buffer’ of 10 per cent on speed limits.

Mr Bangham, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on road policing, reportedly said in a speech at the Police Federation Roads Policing Conference on Tuesday: “They should not come whinging to us about getting caught.

“If booked at 35 or 34 or 33 [in a 30mph zone] that cannot be unfair because they are breaking the law.”

He is also believed to have said speeding awareness courses were being used too widely instead of penalty points and fines.

Breakdown recovery experts were among those who warned that the proposals might make drivers paranoid and constantly check their speedometers.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “We need alert, safe drivers checking the road ahead and adhering to the limits rather than paranoid drivers forever checking the speedometer to check they are 1mph above or below the limit.”

Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said: “While speed is clearly a contributory factor in many road accidents and there is no question that drivers should obey the speed limit, it doesn’t seem sensible to make motorists constantly look at their speedometers for fear of drifting a few miles an hour above the limit.”