Speeders on course to dodge points

Drivers caught speeding at up to 86mph will be able to avoid receiving penalty points on their licence because of new procedures being adopted by the majority of police forces in England and Wales.

Points will inevitably increase the cost of car insurance for those caught speeding, but under the new guidelines motorists can pay for a speed awareness course instead, if caught at up to 10% above the limit plus 9mph.

Previously, only those caught driving at 10% over the speed limit plus 6mph were eligible for the course. Offending drivers will only be allowed to attend one speed awareness course in a three-year period.

The Speed Awareness Courses are now being offered by 37 police forces, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said.

A spokeswoman said: "The initial results of an independent research project showed that Speed Awareness Courses were highly effective in improving long-term driver behaviour on the roads. There is no such evidence to suggest that fines or penalty points offer any long-lasting effect."

The Institute of Advanced Motoring welcomed the move. Chief examiner Peter Rodger said: "This change puts a greater emphasis on education - a really important way to influence driver attitudes."

However, a spokesman for road safety charity Brake said: "These guidelines seem to suggest that it is permissible to significantly break the speed limit just as long as you pay the Government in return. Road safety is far too important and affects too many people's lives to be made into a simple money making scheme."

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