Belfast Telegraph

Drivers warned as police admit setting buffer zone on speed limits in Northern Ireland

Speed cameras here are only set to go off when a driver is over the limit by 10% plus 2mph, like other forces
Speed cameras here are only set to go off when a driver is over the limit by 10% plus 2mph, like other forces
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Police have warned Northern Ireland motorists not to try to take advantage of a "tolerance" level around speed limits.

The PSNI was among 25 of 34 UK police forces who confirmed their speed cameras have a 'buffer zone'.

Local officers have set their speed cameras to only go off when a driver is over the limit by 10% plus 2mph, in common with other forces.

This means that in a 30mph limit, a speed camera wouldn't normally activate unless a car drove past at 35mph or above, while on a 70mph stretch of motorway, this threshold would go up to 79mph.

The information was obtained by data analytics company Consumer Intelligence.

However, drivers have been warned against taking advantage of this.

Inspector Rosie Leech from the PSNI's Roads Policing Unit added: "Excessive speed for the conditions is consistently one of the principal causes of the most serious road traffic collisions in which people are killed or seriously injured on roads across Northern Ireland.

"Tragically, 22 people have already lost their lives on our roads this year."

Ms Leech said that police will continue to enforce the law and are determined to make Northern Ireland's roads safer.

"While PSNI does not discuss speed enforcement thresholds, people should regard the speed limit as exactly that - the maximum speed they may travel at if it is safe to do so, not a target," she added. "If everyone slowed down, did not drive after drinking or taking drugs, wore a seat-belt and drove with greater care and attention, then together we could save lives on our roads."

AA president Edmund King said that this 'buffer zone' exists with the aim of improving driver safety.

"The last thing we want is drivers glued to the speedometer 100% of the time," he said.

"We want drivers to concentrate on the road ahead."

According to the Consumer Intelligence research, a speeding conviction adds on average £50 to your annual car insurance premium, representing an additional £250 to pay while that conviction remains on your record.

The research also found that motorway speeding offences increased premiums by more than £100 a year.

Latest statistics show that more than 30,000 speed offences were recorded in Northern Ireland during 2017 - an average of more than 80 a day.

One speed detection camera alone, located on Belfast's Saintfield Road, recorded 3,761 incidents.

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