When Speeding Isn’t Speeding

Last year, after being a licensed driver for 20 years, I was caught speeding by a mobile speed camera. When the letter from the Police traffic bureau arrived I knew it straight away – I remember the day clearly.

I was on the way home from Park Run with the older two girls. We were happy, singing along to the radio and laughing. I don’t make a habit of speeding, in fact I make every effort not to speed. But, a lapse in concentration when moving from the 40 to the 30 mph zone had me trapped. I knew as soon as I saw the Police van ahead that I have been caught and waited for the inevitable arrival in the post.

There were no complaints from me – I had been caught and that was that. I was offered the opportunity to attend a speed awareness course rather that pay a find a receive points on my license – I took that option. Of course you pay for this course and the fee is almost the same as the fine itself. I noted that in the letter from the traffic bureau that they listed a matrix of speed limit violations as to when a speed awareness course would be offered. Here is that matrix as I also found it on their website too.

Source: https://northyorkshire.police.uk/what-we-do/road-policing/speed-awareness-course/

I had been clocked at 36 mph in a 30 zone, I could have done 42 mph in that same zone and still been offered the speed awareness course. This does show though that I could have been doing 34 mph and not received any action against yet at that speed I would still have been over the well 10%  buffer  – but this buffer is actually a myth. But, on 1st April 2017 new speeding laws came into force where there are now 3 bands for the severity of the offence:

  • A: 1-10 mp in excess
  • B: 11-20mph in excess
  • C: 21mph and over in excess

Each one carries a fine now linked to your weekly income.

But does the fact that the police matrix on when a speed awareness course is offered not contradict this? Could I do 33 mph in  30 zone, 3 mph over the limit, and not have action taken?

Recently a local police Twitter account tweeted this:

This got me thinking. When the police are out educating why are those people let off with a talking to? I had to pay for a course (or have accepted points and a fine) yet some people are getting this treatment? So I decided to query this with them.

They duly replied with this succinct response:

This is kind of stating the obvious really, isn’t it? After all they said in they were doing “speed education”. So, I then followed up with a further couple of questions:

I think the idea of speed education is great and for what it’s worth I enjoyed the speed awareness course I did. Actually, that course is something I think all drivers should do. But the point I am trying to make is that we have a system that has police operatives out with cameras catching and reporting speeding drivers and police officers out catching and educating speeding drivers. Who decides who gets a let off? What are the parameters the police work to for letting speeders off with a telling off, sorry educating chat?

I started writing this post a few days ago and up to publishing this article I have received no further response from the @RyedalePolice Twitter account, possibly because they are too busy or possibly because they saw coming the fact that they let people off when caught speeding whilst others are not. I’ve still not had a response so I’m publishing this now but will come back and follow it up if they ever bother to update me.

If anyone out there knows more about this than I do please do comment below.

Thanks for reading.

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