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Speeding Fines: M42 Used Wrong Font On Signs

Thousands of speeding convictions could be overturned because the wrong font was used on signs along parts of the M42 near Birmingham.

The Crown Prosecution Service told Warwickshire Police in November 2012 that the numbers on the variable speed limit signs were too tall and narrow and may not have complied with traffic regulations.

As a result police stopped using the signs between junctions 3a and 7, and 7 to 9, as a means of enforcement and dropped prosecutions it was going to go ahead with relating to affected stretches of the motorway.

The Highways Agency said it believed they were the right size and were clearly visible.

In a statement it described it as a "minor discrepancy", saying: "The signs were considered to meet the appropriate standards when they were installed and became operational.

"Following queries that suggested that this may not be the case, the Highways Agency clarified the issue and a specific authorisation was signed in November 2012."

In a separate statement, Warwickshire Police said the Department for Transport has now granted authorisation for all of the signs and officers recommenced enforcement of the cameras on January 1.

It said: "There were no issues as to the accuracy of the speed cameras or as to whether the signs were fully illuminated showing the correct speed limit when the cameras detected offences.

"The Statutory Instrument imposing the speed limit was also lawful."

Despite this, some lawyers now want to see all previous speeding convictions for the six years the signs were in place along the M42 quashed.

One, Neil Davies, said: "These are signs which haven't had the appropriate authority over a period of time.

"That has now been rectified, but what we would say is that whilst these signs weren't properly authorised that there is an argument to say that motorists were wrongly prosecuted.

"The real issue here is that there has been a disparity in the way people have been treated."

Similar signs have been used on other motorways so the number of people affected could be wide-reaching.

The signs are used to reduce congestion on busy stretches of motorway.