Britain’s road policing chief today declared that ‘enough is enough’ as he urged a zero-tolerance policy on speeding motorists.
But UKIP’s transport spokesman Jill Seymour responded by saying that ‘enough is enough’ regarding the constant victimisation of road users, and determination to use them as revenue-raising cash cows.
Motorists can currently exceed the speed limit by 10% before being at risk of speeding fines, but Anthony Bangham, chief constable of West Mercia Police, called for this flexibility to be scrapped.
And since he is the road policing lead for the National Police Chiefs Council, other forces are expected to take his comments seriously.
Mrs Seymour – a West Midlands MEP who is based in Mr Bangham’s West Mercia area – said: “I’m not for one moment advocating that drivers ignore the legal speed limits on our roads.
“But there is a perfectly practical and accepted reason for this 10% margin – it’s hard to read many non-digital speedometers to the nearest 1mph, and can sometimes be slightly inaccurate anyway.
“Anyone who uses a satnav on a regular basis will see that it often shows a different speed to the dial on the dashboard. Which one do you believe?”
She added: “On the new ‘smart motorways’ which are being questionably introduced at great expense, speed limits can be changed at the whim of an officer in a control centre, every few hundred yards.
“If Mr Bangham has his way, motorway drivers could spend more time looking nervously up at gantries than on the road ahead, and that raises all manner of worrying safety issues.
“Once again, the driver is being treated as a cash cow. I would urge our police chiefs to put more emphasis instead on catching the real highway criminals – those who are driving with no tax and insurance, or using their mobile phones at the wheel.”
But Mrs Seymour did agree with Mr Bangham on one issue – that it’s time to clamp down on the use of speed awareness courses as an alternative to penalty points.
She said: “There are a lot of people whose pockets are being nicely lined by the operation of these courses. That’s the real reason we are seeing more and more of these so-called ‘safety camera’ vans on our roads.
“Drivers on a speed awareness course still have to pay almost the same price as they would to have three points on their licence and a fine, and there is no evidence that the introduction of these courses has made life on our roads any safer.
“In fact, if the Chief Constable is now calling for this 10% tolerance buffer to be scrapped, I can only conclude that he feels they simply don’t work.”