Police cancel speeding fines due to coronavirus

Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 4:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th May 2020, 9:02 am

Speeding drivers have been let off fines as police struggle with their workloads during the coronavirus outbreak.

Motorists have been contacted by police and told they will not be prosecuted despite breaking the limit, according to the Times.

Normally, speeding offences carry a fixed penalty notice with a minimum £100 fine and six points but some drivers have received letters saying it is “not in the public interest” to pursue them for low-level offences.

According to the Times, Essex Police has written to at least one driver telling them that no further action will be taken “due to issues relating to the coronavirus”.

The force admitted that in April it had decided not to pursue certain "low-level" traffic crimes but said that it had now stopped that policy and would be enforcing all offences.

A spokesperson told the Express: “Last month, the decision was made that in a number of low-level traffic offences we would take no further action.

“These did not include any offences where we had a victim or where the offences are deemed to be at a high level of danger to the public or themselves. 

“We are now enforcing all road traffic offences, including all speeding thresholds, and offenders will be prosecuted in line with national guidelines."

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Speed awareness courses in England and Wales have already been suspended for at least three months, with it possible that some may be cancelled entirely. The courses are usually offered to lower level offenders as an alternative to a fine and points, although the cost of the courses is similar to the fine.

Green light for speeders

Motoring lawyer Nick Freeman - known as Mr Loophole - said that any decision to waive speeding fines by some forces risked creating a postcode lottery where some drivers were given “a green light” to break limits.

The news comes shortly after police revealed a jump in speeding offences during lockdown and some forces said they were stepping up speeding patrols..

With far quieter roads, some forces are reporting a 50 per cent rise in offences and several drivers committing “extreme” speeding offences.

Recent weeks have seen Greater Manchester Police clock one driver doing 130mph on the M62, while the Metropolitan Police reported one driver doing 151mph on the M1 and others hitting up to 134mph in 40mph zones.

Speed awareness courses have been suspended for at least three months (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Met’s Detective Superintendent Andy Cox revealed: “In some roads where we have checks, the average speed has increased by more than 50 per cent and one 20mph road is averaging 40mph.

“When we stop the drivers, they say it is the clear roads and that they didn’t expect us to be there because they thought we would be engaged with coronavirus-related issues."