I am often contacted by constituents and councils enquiring about speeding and dangerous driving in their local area.
This Help guide explains (1) the law surrounding speeding and dangerous driving offences, (2) how to report a dangerous driver and punishments handed out for the different types of offence and (3) how you can help reduce speeding and dangerous driving your area.
It is an offence to exceed the speed limit, with a maximum penalty of a driving ban and a fine. It can also be charged as a fixed penalty offence, involving a smaller fine and 3 points, sometimes with the alternative of attending a speed awareness course.
There are a range of criminal offences which fall under the label ‘bad driving’, and they come with a similar range of penalties including:
14 years for the ‘causing death’ offences (by dangerous driving, while under the influence, for example)
5 years for ‘causing serious injury’ offences
Six months imprisonment for dangerous driving
Non-custodial sentences for offences such as careless driving or using a mobile phone while driving, for example.
The lesser offences can also be charged as a fixed penalty offences, involving a smaller fine and 3 points, sometimes with the alternative of attending a driver improvement course.
A decision on what to charge someone with is a matter for the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS), based on evidence from the police. Sentencing is a matter for the judge in any individual case taking into account the evidence in the case, including any aggravating or mitigating factors.
Speed limits are set by the highways authority for the relevant road. For motorways and major ‘A’ roads, this is the Secretary of State for Transport and for all other roads it will be Hertfordshire County Council.
They are also responsible for changes to speed limits. A change of speed limit should be based on evaluation of the road or stretch of road in question and its safety.
New speed limits are provided for with Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs), these are local orders, which require consultation and publicity and both TRO’s and speed limits need to be properly signed.
Speed limits are enforced by the police and by speed cameras and most local areas have road safety partnerships, which are responsible for any speed camera strategy. This is the Hertfordshire Road safety Partnership which involves the police and the local authorities who can decide where speed cameras should go in East Herts.
What can you do if you are concerned about speeding?
If your area is adversely affected by speeding, you can contact the local police about forming a Community Speed Watch group. Community Speed Watch is an informal speed management process involving the use of speed guns at the roadside. Volunteers are trained and supported by either the Police or PCSOs. Vehicle details of those exceeding the relevant speed limit are recorded with drivers receiving warning letters.
To report a speeding offence call the non –emergency Police telephone number, 101.
For further information about speeding you should Police Crime Commissioner David Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org call01707 806100.
Find out more at Hertfordshire County Council Road Safety: http://www.hertsdirect.org/services/transtreets/rsu/