Council to fine speeding drivers

Wandsworth Council will be the first local authority in the country to fine speeding drivers. The pilot initiative is set to last for eight months.

Drivers breaking the 20mph speed limit in Priory Lane, Roehampton and Wimbledon Park Road in Southfields, face being issued fines by the council instead of the police.

Serious cases of speeding could be referred to the police for consideration of prosecution.

Traffic studies conducted recently over an eight-week period found that one in four vehicles broke the speed limit in Priory Lane while in Wimbledon Park Road it was one in five.

Supported by UK Motoring Organisation

RAC road safety spokesperson Simon Williams said “One of the biggest complaints about 20mph limits is the fact they are rarely enforced which leads to poor compliance. This scheme, on two stretches of road which currently have far too many speeders, has the potential to dramatically improve compliance which has to be a positive road safety step.

While the thought of councils beginning to enforce speed limits instead of the police may be worrying to some, it could be just what’s needed to make 20mph limits more effective. Arguably, fining people with penalty charge notices instead of immediately issuing fixed penalty notices and putting points on licences could be a fairer way of dealing with the problem, particularly as so many drivers tell us they find it hard to drive at 20mph.

How it will work

Using an experimental traffic order, offences will be caught on camera and for an initial four week period warning letters will be sent to the vehicle’s registered keeper.

After this initial period, the council will fine speeding drivers by issuing penalty charge notices (PCNs) instead. The PCN will impose a fine of £130, with a 50 per cent discount if paid within 14 days.

Under the council scheme, offenders will not receive penalty points on their driving licence.

Council leader Simon Hogg said: “Ensuring drivers stick to the 20mph limit not only improves safety levels and encourages more people to walk or cycle, it helps reduce harmful emissions too.”

Money received from fines will be ‘ringfenced’ and ploughed back into road safety initiatives in the borough.

If the Wandsworth pilot is judged a success, other councils in London and elsewhere are likely to follow suit.

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