For years many motorists have relied on police allowing a ‘small margin for error’ – but that is set to change
Drivers hoping to be let off for exceeding the speed limit by only a few miles per hour could find themselves in trouble with the police.
For years many motorists have relied on police allowing a ‘small margin for error’ for anyone who might unwittingly exceed the limit by a small amount.
Traditionally, this has been set at 10% plus 2mph of the posted speed limit, so in a 50mph zone, that would be 5mph plus an extra 2mph before the police will issue a speeding fine.
But that is set to change due to advances in technology making speed readings extremely accurate and police chiefs wanting to stem the rising number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
Some police forces are now set to do away with any discretion and ‘margin for error’ which could lead to more drivers fined and issued with penalty points.
Police chiefs highlight the accuracy of the equipment used to measure speed, as well as the increased use of average speed cameras that can offer a much more precise measurement with less likelihood of any mistake.
10% + 2mph
Traditional leeway afforded to drivers
In Scotland, the police force has announced it is abandoning the previous discretionary allowance and will issue any driver exceeding the speed limit by even 1mph with a warning.
If the driver is caught exceeding the limit again by a small margin, they will be fined £100 and have three points put on their driving licence. For anyone exceeding the limit by a larger amount, the fine and points will be automatic.
In England and Wales other forces could follow suit.
A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “If you are over the limit, you are breaking the law and technology makes it easier to pinpoint exact speeds.
“Enforcing speed limits is at the discretion of individual chief constables.”
However, road safety campaigners fear the clampdown could lead to many drivers spending more time watching their speedo than the road ahead.
Edmund King, president of the AA, says: “We need drivers to concentrate on what is on the road in front of them, not always looking at the speedo.
“If a driver strays over the limit by 2mph, they shouldn’t be, but it’s better they do that and stay focused on what is going on around them.”