Prosecute drivers for going 1mph over the limit, says police chief

A fixed speed camera on the central reservation at the 30 miles per hour limit, on Millbank in Westminster central London.

Drivers should be given absolutely no margin when it comes to issuing speeding tickets, a police chief has said. Andy Bangham, chief constable of West Mercia police, told a roads policing conference that 'enough was enough' and that the existing buffer zone had to go.

"I want the public to be embarrassed when they are caught," he said. "They need to understand the law is set at the limit for a reason. They should not come whingeing to us."

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"If they are booked at 35mph, or 34mph or 33mph that cannot be unfair, because they are breaking the law."

Technically, penalties can be issued for any infraction of the limit, but official police guidance says that speeding tickets should only be issued for drivers doing 10 per cent over the limit plus 2mph. That means that motorists can theoretically get away with doing 35mph in a 30mph zone, or as much as 78mph on the motorway.

Bangham believes this buffer zone should be scrapped and penalties issued for drivers exceeding the limit by any amount. He also said that speed awareness courses were being issued too often, and they should be reserved for those only marginally over the limit.

Everyone else should get fines and points on their licence, Bangham said.

But motoring groups have hit out at Bangham's comments. Pete Williams, the RAC's road safety spokesperson, 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.

"Originally, the leeway of 10% plus 2mph over the speed limit was given to take account of inaccuracies that may occur because of camera and speedometer calibration. Surely, the police's focus should be on tackling those who exceed the speed limit consistently, and, or excessively, as they present the greatest road safety risk. It seems very wrong to penalise law-abiding motorists who may occasionally go very slightly above the limit."

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