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Speeding drivers to receive warnings rather than fines

By Tom Fraser, 30 May 2018 Car News

Speeding drivers to receive warnings rather than fines

Scottish police have proposed a penalty scheme that prioritises behavioural change above revenue raising

Speeding motorists could be allowed more leeway in the form of warnings instead of tickets, should a proposal by Scottish police be approved.

Drivers caught travelling over the limit in 20 and 30 mile per hour zones (roughly 30 and 50km/h) would be given a written warning that expires in three months. Should the driver be caught again within that window, they’ll cop a fine and receive points on their licence.

No further action would be taken for those who heed the warning and slow down.

Read next: Australians paid $1.1 billion in speeding fines last financial year

The move to a more lenient warning system would see an estimated 18,000 drivers escape unscathed each year – provided they adhere to the condition of not speeding again for the following three months.

Chief superintendent Stewart Carle, head of road policing, suggests that written warnings would only be handed out by officers, leaving those caught by fixed speed cameras out of luck.

“If you have an opportunity to say ‘Speeding is one of four fatal factors and we’re not going to prosecute on this occasion, we’re not going to give you a fine, will you accept this warning?’ I think most people will say ‘Yes, absolutely’,” said Carle.

Read next: Opinion: Road safety experts blinded by speed

There is no official line on how much faster you’re allowed to go in the 20 and 30mph zones before a warning is deemed insufficient, however Carle said the margins are “relatively generous”.

Carle said that the proposed change would not only free up the time of prosecution authorities to focus on more serious cases, but that the judicial system would not have as many cases clogging up the courts too.  

Read next: Do speeding fines work?

Still currently under investigation as a suitable replacement, Scottish Police hopes to be implementing the program within a year.

This new system comes on the back of UK research finding that “speed awareness courses” would have more benefit in reducing speeding offences when compared to the traditional fine and points approach.

We can only hope that the three month warning system passes the scrutiny of the Scottish Crown Office’s evaluation, and other countries like Australia take notice.