London, 25 Dec 2000.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Some Sense On Speed - At Last!
The Association of British Drivers applaud the common sense applied by traffic officers in the recent case of the Surrey Chief Constable and his driver - and look forward to the day when it will be applied in all cases.
Surrey Chief Constable Denis O'Connor was a passenger in a car caught in a speed trap, allegedly travelling at 78mph on a 50mph dual carriageway section of the A3 near Guildford. Apparently, the officers who stopped the car let the driver off as "the road conditions were clear and therefore they used their powers of discretion".

ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries commented,

"At last we see some common sense applied to speed. Surrey traffic officers seem to have understood that the erection of a piece of tin with a number on it means little, and driving at an appropriate speed for the conditions is safe. No doubt the driver was driving so that he could safely stop in the distance seen to be clear, the most important factor in setting one's speed, and would have been driving slower had there been other traffic, pedestrians or adverse weather to change the situation."

"What is a shame is that Chief Constable O'Connor felt threatened enough by the 'liberal elite' and its anti-motorist agenda to issue an apology. For what?"

Chairman of the ABD, Brian Gregory added,
"Speed is the primary causal factor in less than one twentieth of accidents, and anyone who says otherwise is being fundamentally dishonest. Good drivers drive at a speed appropriate for the conditions, and in this case the officers should be commended for a first class application of common sense. Claims by pseudo road safety organisations that 'Speed limits are there for sound reasons' should be challenged: raising revenue is not a 'sound reason' - neither is their association with draconian penalties and threats of the removal of personal transportation. More of the lower speed limits today are set by untrained councillors and are against professional advice. Many speed penalties are akin to fining pedestrians £60 for each time they step on a crack in the pavement - and about as dangerous."

"However, whether or not common sense will be applied to other drivers in the same position is something we can only await. I would wager that common sense will only apply if you are caught driving your boss - who just happens to be either the local Chief Constable, or the Home Secretary."


Notes for Editors

Open letter to the Chief Constable