Behind the Headlines: New technology will lead to changes in speeding laws?


It was reported recently that following changes in camera technology, motorists could soon be facing fines and penalty points for driving even marginally over the speed limit.

According to the article published by AOL, there is currently a small margin of error when it comes to the accuracy of the detection equipment.

Often this gives motorists a leeway of around 10%, meaning that a motorist travelling in a 40mph zone wouldn’t be stopped if they travelled up to 44mph, though of course this would be down to the discretion of the officer.

But do apparent technological advancement in speed capturing equipment really mean this could become a thing of the past?

And with officers able to calculate the exact speed at which a motorist is travelling, will they soon be able to issue fines to people travelling just one mph over the speed limit?

Neil Davies explains, the reason for such concern, but urges that common sense continues to prevail.

Behind the Headlines“Currently in England and Wales, police forces are given guidance by the Association of Chief Police Officers that motorists should not be subject to formal action for speeding, including offering a Speed Awareness Course, Fixed Penalty Notice or formal prosecution before a Magistrates’ Court, provided that their speed does not exceed 10% of the speed limit plus 2mph.

“By way of example, provided that you are driving at a speed below 35mph within a 30mph speed limit you should not be liable to any enforcement action.

“The purpose of this longstanding guidance has been to ensure proportionality and fairness in the enforcement of speed limits, and also to allow a margin for error in detecting a person driving in excess of the speed limit. In recent times however, the suggestion has been made that this tolerance may be removed such that motorists are prosecuted even for driving at 1mph above the speed limit.

“These suggestions have largely arisen following a decision by the Scottish Police to run a pilot scheme whereby drivers caught driving at very marginally above the speed limit receive a formal warning letter and also following suggestions that given the accuracy of modern speed detection devices we can now be sure that someone was exceeding the speed limit even by the smallest of margins.

“Whilst this all makes for good headlines, it is very unlikely that the current guidelines for tolerance in England and Wales will be revised and what should be remembered is that the current guidelines allow a person to be prosecuted for speeding at any speed (even at 31mph) provided that they are in excess of the speed limit as they are only guidelines.

“However, common sense prevails currently and let’s hope it remains that way”.

Do you have a motoring law issue for Neil Davies to discuss? Feel free to tweet your questions to @CaddickDavies and remember to use #AskNeilDavies.

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