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The BBC's Richard Bilton
"Road users have mixed views"
 real 28k

Anthony Fincham, Transport 2000's lawyer
"The practical effect is to change the law and raise the limit"
 real 28k

Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Police speeding policy challenged
Speed warning sign
Campaigners want police to get tough on speeders
Police forces across much of the UK are facing a legal challenge over the way speed limits are enforced.

Campaigners say a decision not to prosecute drivers breaking a 30mph limit unless they exceed 35mph is pushing up legal speed limits and costing lives.

The High Court has given pressure group Transport 2000 leave to challenge a national speed enforcement policy which allows the 5mph "buffer".



This would send a signal to drivers that speeding kills and is a crime

Stephen Joseph, Transport 2000
The group says the policy is illegal and wants the 30mph limit to be strictly enforced.

"This would send a signal to drivers that speeding kills and is a crime," said Transport 2000 director Stephen Joseph.

The speed enforcement policy was introduced in February by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

It aimed to standardise how speeding is policed across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But the 5mph "buffer" has only added to discrepancies in the law, Transport 2000 has said.

It argues enforcing the legal speed limits would take away any discretion in the law, and the uncertainty for motorists as to whether they will be charged.

It says a limit of 30mph should mean 30mph, wherever drivers are in the country.

Death toll

The campaigners also believe the ACPO policy is costing lives.

Currently an average of 10 people a day are killed on British roads and a further 100 injured.

Transport 2000 assistant director Lynn Sloman said government research showed someone hit by a car at 35mph was more than twice as likely to be killed as someone hit at 30mph.

"We believe this edging up of the speed limit set by parliament will mean more people killed and seriously hurt on the roads," she said.

"We are particularly concerned about child safety - nearly 100 children are killed or badly injured every week."


Police camera
Police say they will work with concerned parties
The group wants drivers caught driving at up to 50mph in 30mph zones to face court.

Existing rules include the imposition of fixed 60 penalties and three licence penalty points.

The action has won the backing of relatives of some of those killed in traffic accidents, including Brigitte Chaudhry, whose son Mansoor died after being hit by a car doing 35mph.

She said police had told her the driver involved was "careless" rather than reckless.

She said: "We know that at 20mph only 5% of people will die, while at 40mph 85% will die.

Action defended

"We know that practicalities have probably dictated this policy but we want the message that speeding is costing lives to be clear to the driving public."

The group is to challenge Norfolk chief constable, and head of ACPO's traffic committee, Ken Williams, in the High Court.

Mr Williams said ACPO would talk to campaigners about their concerns but would be defending the guidelines in court.

"My association is committed to a strategy of contributing to the reduction of deaths and injury on the road through partnership with all those who share a common goal," he said.

Transport 2000 must signify its intention to take further legal action within two weeks of the ruling but campaigners say they will also be talking to ACPO officials in a bid to amend the policy.

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See also:

01 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Push to cut road deaths
26 Nov 99 | UK Politics
Fury at speeding climbdown
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