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Thousands of drivers who break 20mph speed limits are set to face fines and receive points on their licence under new plans which have been created by senior police officers.
The Association of Chief Police Officers has drawn up the plans which will see forces take a tougher line on enforcing the law which will now be aimed not just at habitual and blatant offenders.
This move means that drivers who break the 20mph could face being sent on speed awareness courses and it has been put in place following a meeting between Suzette Davenport, the ACPO officer and two transport ministers, Norman Baker and Stephen Hammond.
“It is important councils are able to set appropriate speed limits for their roads,” a Department for Transport spokesman said.
“That is why we welcome the Association of Chief Police Officers plans to rewrite their guidance on the enforcement of 20mph limits, to ensure that they are policed in the same regards as other speed limits.”
Up until now, Mr Baker along with other members of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group has been unhappy with the police guidance on 20mph speed limits. The party believes that 20mph zones should be largely self-enforcing and that the police should not be expected to provide additional enforcement.
The Telegraph has reported that work has already begun on devising speed awareness courses for drivers who break the 20mph limit, and that drivers who participate on these courses will avoid paying the £100 fixed penalty fine and also getting points on their licence.
Details of the new police strategy are expected to be revealed in the next few weeks, and so far one force in Devon and Cornwall is already in agreement that speed enforcement is appropriate until “an agreed engineering solution” to slow traffic down – normally chicanes or speed humps – is agreed.
Boris Johnson, Major of London is in full support of these new measures as he is keen to promote cycling in the capital and his officials are keen to run a pilot speed awareness course which can then be adapted to other areas in the UK. However, a spokesman for the AA voiced some concerns about the proposed move:
“In AA polling a small majority of respondents say they support 20mph speed limits in residential and shopping streets, however there is significantly less support for these lower limits on main roads,” he said.
“If enforcement is to become more commonplace, and that still needs to be debated, it is critical that there is clear signing, the limits or zones have logical boundaries and that prosecution should not be the only option. It would be far better to encourage greater compliance through use of warnings and education.”