According to a report seen by a mainstream Sunday newspaper, the National Police Chiefs’ Council have started an official review, with a view to fining motorists for doing just 1mph over the speed limit.
This idea has been discussed in the press before, but now seems like a distinct possibility of becoming a reality in the UK.
The Councils ‘Lead on national roads policing’ Andy Bangham is strongly in favour of the proposal, according to the report.
I wonder if he realises just how much concentration it takes to stick exactly to the speed limit unless you have — and are comfortable using — cruise control, which of course far from everyone does/is!
I tried it myself on a new average speed camera section of the M20 just last weekend.
The cruise on my car wasn’t working (it works when it feels like it apparently!) and I was trying hard to make sure that I didn’t average more than exactly 50mph on the 3 lane motorway by manually moderating my speed.
It occurred to me just how taxing and downright dangerous it is to be constantly looking back and forth at my TALEX to make sure I wasn’t going too fast!
I would say at least 50% of my attention was taken up by what speed I was doing, and trying to mentally calculate (guess) how much I needed to slow down to make sure the average was no more than 50mph.
In my opinion this process of constantly looking at and minutely adjusting your speed is about as dangerous as texting while driving (which I seriously don’t recommend!) and significantly less dangerous than talking in to your phone while driving, which are of course both illegal.
It would surely be even worse to be constantly looking up and down at your speedo — as opposed to a TALEX or other dash mounted GPS device — which is usually not in the line of sight of the road ahead and – incidentally – isn’t usually very accurate either…
I would imagine Andy Bangham’s answer to this would be that the speed limit is the maximum speed, not the average speed you should be doing.
What I would say to that is that, in general, the speed limits on “smart motorways” are WAY TOO LOW for anyone other than the most incompetent driver!
So to expect Motorists to give themselves an arbitrarily self imposed lower imaginary speed limit, so as to be sure not to stray slightly over the actual legal speed limit is unlikely to happen.
Put another way, drivers are always going to be pushing the maximum speed limit because it’s perceived to be – I think rightly — too low in most cases.
What I think is going to happen if the proposal is approved is that the number of speeding fines will rocket…
There were 2.1 Million speeding tickets (excluding court summons, so read “minor offences”) in England and Wales in 2016.
Just imagine how many drivers would be fined if this proposal gets approved.
And just imagine how many avoidable accidents would be caused by drivers being distracted by monitoring their speed to the nearest 1mph and braking — with those behind them also distracted for the same reason! — because they are worrying about getting a ticket due to a minor error.
Do you agree or disagree?