Updated: Oct 12, 2022
A taxi industry spokesman has questioned why new speeding tolerance rules, which are catching out thousands of motorists and taxi drivers, were brought in on the quiet in the name of safety.
The new rules mean taxi drivers and other motorists now have less leeway when it comes to speeding and could face prosecution if they are caught over the limit by 10% plus 2mph. The previous tolerance limit set by the Metropolitan Police was 10% plus 3mph.
According to the MailOnline, the Met Police has not directly shared the rule changes to speed tolerance meaning thousands are falling foul. Historically the speed tolerance allowance provides a driver a small amount of leeway before a camera activates.
The Met did state that no matter the threshold, all drivers should stick to the speed limits and never exceed them.
The Sunday Times reported the rule changes could result in more than 347,000 drivers being prosecuted for speeding between January and June this year. That equates to a 259% increase when compared with data taken from the six months before the changes went live.
Steve McNamara, Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) General Secretary, said in TAXI Newspaper: “The Met has argued that no one should be going faster than the speed limit. Of course, that is true, but the whole point of the thresholds was to give people the benefit of the doubt and room for error. This is especially important for professional drivers, who by the very virtue of their work and the fact that they spend so much time on the road, are more likely to make mistakes or get caught out by an unexpected lower speed limit.
“At 20mph, all it takes is a little too much pressure on the accelerator for a second to reach 24mph. This is a particularly easy mistake to make for a cab driver driving on Park Lane, whose every instinct and muscle memory is telling them to speed up as they join the wide, dual carriageway that used to allow them to travel at 40mph.”
McNamara added: “If the changes are, as the Met maintains, on safety grounds, why would they keep them a secret? Surely, if you want to encourage an even greater awareness of the dangers of speeding, the more people that know the better. The only explanation for keeping it quiet, or what might better be described as sneaking it in, can have been to generate more prosecutions and more revenue.”
The taxi industry spokesman was even more scathing with his assessment of the Met Police, which entered special measures in June.
In September His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) graded the Met’s performance across nine areas of policing and found the force was ‘good’ in one area, ‘adequate’ in two areas, ‘requires improvement’ in five areas, and ‘inadequate’ in one area – responding to the public.
HMICFRS said the areas requiring improvement are investigating crime; protecting vulnerable people; managing offenders; developing a positive workplace, and good use of resources.
Describing the Met Police’s performance, McNamara said: “Remember this is from a police service in special measures. One that sends crime references to burglary victims rather than a detective. A police service that has lost control of many of our streets to the extent that a phone, camera, or bag snatch by gangs on electric bikes is so commonplace, that few people bother to report them. With no expectations of ever getting their property back, people now invariably just want a crime number for an insurance claim.
“Scotland Yard, once a byword for the very best in policing around the world, is now home to a new breed of senior police officer. In fact, many of them are police officers in name only and have never walked a beat, but have transferred in from other occupations, under what was known as the direct entry programme.
“Proof of the poor quality of leadership, if it were needed, can be seen any day almost directly outside Scotland Yard and in clear sight of most of its office windows, as gangs of con artists working the three- card monte, or trick, fleece the tourists on Westminster Bridge. Protecting tourists is obviously not as high on their list of priorities as catching the real criminals in their cars, vans and cabs who get caught by the cameras outside Scotland Yard, as they accidentally drive past at 23mph in the 20 zone.”