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‘Don’t get soft on speeders’

23 November 2004

Government plans to introduce more lenient penalties for some speeding offences have been criticised by an influential Labour MP.

The measures will be included in a new Road Safety Bill announced in today’s Queen’s Speech, which will be published in the next few days.

Gwyneth Dunwoody MP, chairman of the Transport Select Committee, says giving motorists fewer penalty points for marginally exceeding limits sends a dangerous message which threatens road safety.

She said: ‘A few miles an hour makes a huge difference to road safety. Breaking the speed limit at lower speeds makes the most lethal difference.’

Dunwoody points to evidence which shows pedestrians hit by cars travelling at 30mph have a 50:50 chance of survival, while one in 10 are killed if they are hit by vehicles travelling at 40mph. She hopes the plans will be dropped when the bill is put before the Commons next year.

The Road Safety Bill will also propose introducing penalty points for motorists caught using hand-held mobile phones while driving. Other measures in the bill include ‘alco-lock’ systems to breath-test convicted drink-drivers each time they get behind the wheel, and new rest areas on motorways.

The bill will also give police improved access to databases so they can better clamp down on uninsured drivers.

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