Do stricter policies really make the roads any safer?

The chief of road policing in Britain just called for a major crackdown on speeders, arguing that even 1 mph over the limit should incur a penalty. However, critics question whether or not such draconian measures will actually make the roads any safer.

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Bangham called for an attitude adjustment among law enforcement: “I do not want the public to be surprised, I want them to be embarrassed when they get caught...”

Following the release of statistics that show a rise in accident-related deaths in the U.K., English police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham called for a stop to the “soft” treatment of speeders, even going so far as to say traveling at 1 mph over the speed limit should be enough to incur a penalty. Bangham argued that stricter policies were needed in a speech at the Police Federation earlier this week, contending that motorists are no longer afraid of punishments handed down for driving too fast. Instead, he wants more fines and more points added to speeders’ licenses, as well as an end the 10-percent “buffer” currently in use and a decrease in speed awareness courses as an alternative to fines and points on the license.

Furthermore, Bangham called for an attitude adjustment among law enforcement, saying officers shouldn’t be “apologetic” when giving out speeding tickets. “Let’s change the message,” Bangham said, as reported by The Daily Mail. “I do not want the public to be surprised, I want them to be embarrassed when they get caught... They need to understand the law is set at the limit for a reason. They should not come whinging to us about getting caught.”

“If booked at 35 or 34 or 33 [in a 30-mph zone] that cannot be unfair because they are breaking the law,” he added.

The general policy at the moment is that traveling at 10 percent above the limit is generally excused without punishment. If a motorist is caught going just a few mph over that, they are usually offered the option to complete a speed awareness course, rather than receiving points on their license.

No Room For Error – U.K. Police Chief Wants To Fine Drivers For Going Just 1 MPH Over The Speed Limit
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Tory MP Sir Greg Knight thinks the current approach is the right one, countering Bangham by saying that ramping up speeding tickets for just a few mph over the limit would punish otherwise good drivers.

Tory MP Sir Greg Knight thinks the current approach is the right one, countering Bangham by saying that ramping up speeding tickets for just a few mph over the limit would punish otherwise good drivers. “The police rely in many cases to solve crimes on the good will of the public,” he said. “I can think of nothing more likely to destroy that good will than an overly aggressive policy towards motorists.”

He also pointed out that tickets for 1 mph over the limit wouldn’t necessarily make things safer. With motorists constantly watching their speedometer, it’s less likely they’ll keep their eyes on the road, which would inevitably lead to further accidents.

No Room For Error – U.K. Police Chief Wants To Fine Drivers For Going Just 1 MPH Over The Speed Limit
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Better driver training, better road maintenance, better vehicle maintenance – these are the things we should worry about, not if someone is going 31 mph in a 30-mph zone.

Unsurprisingly, we here at TopSpeed tend to side with Sir Greg Knight on this issue. While we certainly wouldn’t condone excessive speeding or law breaking,we don’t think that handing out tickets for exceeding the limit by just a few mph is the right way to improve road safety. Better driver training, better road maintenance, better vehicle maintenance – these are the things we should worry about, not if someone is going 31 mph in a 30-mph zone.

Another thing to consider is the margin of error in play here, both with speedometers and police equipment. If law enforcement is gonna split hairs over 1 mph, the accuracy of speed measuring devices (both for motorists and police) will need a monumental improvement across the board.

To us, Bangham’s proposal just feels like a blatant revenue grab.

What do you think? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.

Source: The Daily Mail

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