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Last Updated: Friday, 23 January, 2004, 13:20 GMT
No 10 denies speeding laws review
Speed camera
A review has already been ordered of the speed camera system
The government has denied a report it is reviewing the laws on speeding - including plans to cut penalty points from three to two in some cases.

The Times said the home secretary was considering giving motorists smaller penalties for lesser speeding charges.

The prime minister's official spokesman said David Blunkett had said nothing about speeding in the Times interview.

He had been talking generally about how laws must command public confidence, the spokesman added.

Points

At the moment, drivers are automatically fined 60 and get three points on their licence for each speeding offence.

Once they have accumulated 12 points, they are liable to be disqualified.

This is not even a review, we do not recognise these details
Home Office spokesman

The Times quoted officials as saying that while someone travelling at 90mph in a 70mph area would still qualify for three penalty points, a driver travelling at 35mph in a 30mph zone might only get two.

But the Home Office said that while it was working with the Department of Transport to make sure penalties for driving offences were fair, no announcement was imminent.

"There is not even a review and we do not recognise these details," a spokeswoman said.

'Proportionality'

However, Mr Blunkett did respond to rising concern from motorists over speed cameras and where they are placed.

"I want proportionality," he told the Times.

"I have always been a great advocate of only using speed cameras in order to reduce people's speed and create safety rather than raising money," he added.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has already announced a review of the system to ensure the UK's 4,500 cameras have been sited according to the national rules.

These state cameras may only be installed on roads where there have been four deaths or serious injuries over the past three years.

Traffic police
The Home Office is looking at making driving laws fairer
The claims come after Conservative transport spokesman Damian Green proposed reforms to the way speeding offences were punished.

Mr Green last month suggested only offences in about 1,000 areas, where the risk of death was highest, should carry penalty points.

He also called for an audit of the country's cameras, to find out which ones actually reduced road accidents and which appeared to be there just to raise money.

"Many motorists are very suspicious that too many of the cameras are there to raise money, rather than to make our roads safer," Mr Green told BBC News.

Most of the money from fines pays for administering the system, but Mr Green said the Treasury creamed off the rest - up to 20m.

He suggested "all money raised by speed camera fines should go back into road safety" to restore confidence in the system.

Mr Green said the current system undermined faith in the way road safety was being enforced.

"What drivers need is to know that every camera is contributing to road safety, not the chancellor's coffers."

But road safety campaigners said they would strongly oppose any relaxation of penalties for speeding.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Mike Sergeant
"Motoring organisations are worried that flexible penalties will only confuse the issue"



SEE ALSO:
Tories tackle speed camera rules
30 Dec 03  |  Politics
Force in row over speed cameras
10 Dec 03  |  England
Speed camera 'arsonist' jailed
28 Nov 03  |  Norfolk


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