Police change policy on 20 mph enforcement?

20 mph

Chances of a major confrontation on York’s streets, over the Labour Councils proposed “wide area” 20 mph speed limits, increased today following the publication of new enforcement guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers.

It appears that drivers found driving between 24 mph and 31 mph in the zones may be “invited” to go on a new style “speed awareness course”. Usually the other option is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points!

Similar courses have been an option for those exceeding – by a small amount – existing speed limits. They are generally well received, but reaction, from normally law abiding motorists to the new restrictions, is less predictable.

The Labour plan involves extending lower 20 mph limits to roads on which there has never been a recorded accident.

The ACPO guidance is not open ended and talks of the need for limits to be clearly signed with natural enforcement using “engineering, visible interventions and landscaping standards” to increase driver awareness of accident risks.

Nevertheless, it is a change from the previous Police policy which (rightly) supported 20 mph limits only where they were self enforcing (for example using traffic calming systems)

The guidance does not recommend if proactive measuring of speeds should routinely take place in any new 20 mph limit areas.

So the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioners’ assurance, given at a public meeting on 10th April, that there would be no camera enforcement of 20 mph limits presumably still holds good.

Our view remains that the Police and Council should concentrate their resources on those roads which have a poor accident record.

The ACPO guidance reads:

“Speeding remains an issue of high concern, particularly in residential areas or near facilities for young or vulnerable people. That said, we hope that this updated guidance will go some way to ensure that enforcement is appropriate and proportional, and that roads are carefully designed to ensure that drivers habitually self-enforce when it comes to speed limits.

“The principal alteration to our guidance relates to areas under a 20 mile-per-hour limit.

“We are now introducing speed awareness courses as a key part of enforcement in these areas for those who breach the limit between 24 and 31mph. Often, these drivers are mistaken or require further education on the local limit and therefore we are very pleased that the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) are developing a speed awareness course tailored to these zones which will run from November of this year until 2016.

“Enforcement will be considered in all clearly posted limits, but limits are only one element of speed management and local speed limits should not be set in isolation. They should be part of a package with other measures to manage speeds which include engineering, visible interventions and landscaping standards that respect the needs of all road users and raise the driver’s awareness of their environment, together with education, driver information, training and publicity.

“Rest assured, deliberate high harm offenders will always be targeted and they will be prosecuted.”

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