New ‘stealth’ speed limit changes could see thousands of drivers fined

EU: Speed limiters to be implemented from 2022

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The Metropolitan Police have dropped their speed limit tolerance threshold by one mile per hour. As a result of the law change, the number of fines given to speeding motorists has spiked by a reported 259 percent.

Drivers will now face prosecution if they break the limit by 10 percent plus 2mph. 

The tolerance limit was previously 10 percent plus 3mph, according to the RAC.

The Metropolitan Police had not directly announced any rule changes to speed tolerance before they came into force.

Because of this, it has been described by some as a “stealth” law change.

The Met did state that no matter the threshold, all drivers should stick to the speed limits and never exceed them.

Under the new rules, which were quietly introduced on May 14, 2019, thousands of drivers have been subjected to fines.

An estimated 347,000 drivers were warned that they would be prosecuted for speeding in the first six months of 2022, The Times reported.

This is compared to just 97,000 in the second half of 2021.

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The new rules only apply in the areas covered by the Met Police and a handful of other forces, including Lancashire Police. 

Other constabularies have maintained the 10 percent plus 3mph rule.

When asked about the change, the Metropolitan Police said posted speed limits are the maximum speed that road users should travel at any time.

This is “irrespective of the speed threshold [at which] police commence enforcement action”.

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Following the rule change, the National Police Chiefs Council has indicated that it will review its guidance.

This means that speeding regulations could be tightened to match those in force across London.

The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points added to a driving licence.

Motorists can be disqualified from driving if they build up 12 or more penalty points within a period of three years.

If caught and depending on the speed, drivers will be given an option of taking a speed awareness course.

For drivers who are driving within two years of passing their test, their licence will be revoked if they build up six or more penalty points.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association said the change had resulted in “an absolutely massive increase in taxi drivers receiving three, six, nine and 12 points in a three- or four-week period”.

He added that some of those had been driving for 35 years as professional drivers, without a single point on their licence.

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