Drivers face £100 fine for going 1mph over speed limit after police urge end to 'buffer zone'

Alex Thornhill
Speed cameras overlooking a motorway in Bedfordshire - PA
Speed cameras overlooking a motorway in Bedfordshire - PA

Motorists face being fined £100 for driving just 1mph above the speed limit under new toughened rules to clamp down on dangerous driving, it was reported.

Police chiefs are reviewing the current "buffer zone" which currently shields drivers from punishment if they travel too fast.

The zone is calculated by increasing the speed limit by ten percent plus 2 mph, before they face punishment. 

This means in a 30mph speed zone, motorists can drive at 34mph without risk of being penalised

Anyone caught travelling margainally above the buffer zone are allowed to take a speed awareness course, while repeat offenders face a £100 fine and three penalty points.

But according to The Mail on Sunday, Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, the national roads policing chief, is in favour of adopting a new zero-tolerance approach towards speeding motorists.

He said the current guidance could lead drivers to think 'it is okay to speed'. 

In a paper on roads policing presented to the Chief Constables' Council in April, Mr Bangham told how fatalities increased by four percent back in 2016 after years of decline and admitted the police's approach "appears to be failing".

He said: "We need to change our messaging and ensure greater consistency of approach when dealing with those who exceed the speed limit.

"The existing speed enforcement guidance could in fact be encouraging driving at these more dangerous high speeds rather than the actual speed limits." 

Speeding | The 10 per cent 'rule'
Speeding | The 10 per cent 'rule'

Road safety charity Brake said it was "fully supportive" of Mr Bangham's approach.

A charity spokesperson said: "The existing speed enforcement guidance, the 10% + 2 rule, gives drivers the impression that travelling above the speed limit is acceptable – it is not."

But the AA said it did not welcome the plans amid concerns people could become distracted by constantly monitoring their speed.

An AA spokesperson said: "When you're concerned that that you might be 1mph over the speed limit you'll be looking more at your speedometer than the road ahead. 

"People will have one eye on the road and one eye their speed, when both eyes should be on the road. That would be our biggest concern with the change." 

Is your area a speeding hotspot?
Is your area a speeding hotspot?

Doubts were also expressed that police would be unable to enforce the stricter rules due to their dwindling resources. 

Some police chiefs are thought to have voiced fears public support could be lost if motorists believed they were being treated as cash cows. 

According to The Mail on Sunday, latest Home Office figures show there were a massive 2.1 million speeding offences dealt with by fines or courts in England and Wales in 2016, up from 1.6 million in 2011, generating an estimated £100 million in income for the Government.