This is the original letter sent to Car magazine in September 1992 by Brian Gregory, now chairman of the ABD, which set the wheels of the ABD in motion.

I understand that the various UK Traffic Police Divisions are from 1 July 1992 to embark on an aggressive campaign of speed-limit enforcement, employing a variety of high-technology photographic speed traps using a (speed limit + 10 percent + 2mph) criterion as the upper limit for immunity from prosecution.

While I fully accept and agree with the logic of the resultant effective limits for dual carriageways and urban areas, the effective motorway limit (79mph) based on this formula is clearly at odds with what regular users consider to be a safe speed under normal conditions. In a recent survey, 40 percent of motorway users were averaging between 80 and 90mph, with only about three percent of users above this speed.

The new effective limit also completely disregards the representations that ACPO (the Association of Chief Police Officers) made to Government in 1991 for the motorway speed limit to be raised (to, by some accounts, a realistic 90mph).

The fact that the focus of this blitz is to be the motorway system reveals the true motive for this campaign. If safety were the issue, then the proportion of resources devoted to making urban roads safer would be proportional to the number of casualties that occur in these areas (which it clearly is not) The police authorities are merely using the motorist as a source of revenue by setting an unrealistically low motorway limit and aggressively applying it. This is hardly going to improve the already tarnished public perception of the police service — especially since this is one of the commonest reasons for the 'typical' citizen coming into contact with the police.

The success of this unwarranted campaign will hinge on the willingness of the motorist to smile and pay up, rather than elect for a court appearance. The Magistrates court system could rapidly be brought to a grinding halt if all motorists caught in these traps elect for the latter course.

The British motoring community requires a formal voice, as Germany has, to lobby for its interests and prevent the imposition, without consultation, of such grubbily motivated measures. Can anyone advise me how to contact the German Motoring Party? Also, like-minded motorists can contact me with a view to establishing a British Motorists' Association or similar, to lobby politically for motorists' interests, something the existing bodies 'representing' motorists — the IAM, AA and RAC — are signally failing to do.

Brian Gregory

It is worrying to reflect on how in just ten years, the Association of Chief Police Officers changed from a common sense view of motorway speed limits to a politically correct one, by allowing itself to be completely brainwashed by the anti-car lobby.

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