1 April 2004

Autocar’s Talking Sense on Speed campaign is on the verge of a huge breakthrough.

Speed cameras’ biggest supporter, chief constable Richard Brunstrom, admitted the need for a national training scheme to replace the automatic points and fines handed out to drivers caught speeding.

Brunstrom, chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ road policing committee, has long advocated the increased use of speed cameras as a road safety tool, but finally appears to have faced up to their shortcomings.

‘At present, speed cameras are very black and white,’ said Brunstrom in an interview with Police magazine. ‘Either nothing happens or you get three points and a fine. We obviously need a national scheme that will give drivers who are caught for the first time the option of a formal warning and retraining.’

Our campaign, conducted in conjunction with the RAC Foundation, has been calling for an end to the ‘one-trick’ approach to road safety that relies on speed cameras and fines instead of a process of education to improve driver behaviour.

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It seems that we are now only weeks away from a major political climbdown.

‘We will be unveiling a national scheme in the near future which will take a lot of heat out of the issue,’ admitted Brunstrom.

RAC Foundation executive director Edmund King said: ‘This is very encouraging. It looks as if the Autocar/RAC Foundation campaign could soon be making a difference. We are looking forward to analysing the full results of the Government’s findings on setting up a national scheme.’

Meanwhile, a driver improvement course will come into effect across Scotland on 1 April. Run as an alternative to a court appearance for motorists accused of careless driving or driving without due care and attention, the £129 courses will be offered to offenders who haven’t previously attended one in the past three years. BSM driving instructors will conduct two half-day on-road tutorials, along with a half-day classroom session.

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