Speed Cameras in The Dock
Safe Speed Press information

 release date: 14th March 2004 title: Speed Cameras in The Dock number: PR109

Speed Cameras in The Dock

News: For immediate release

In a potentially stunning appeal case in the High Court on Tuesday the future of speed cameras may be decided, at least for a while. The case concerns an unsigned section 172 form, where an apparent loophole in the law requires a driver to return "information" about a motoring offence, but the law does not
appear to require the form to be signed.

If the form is not signed other legislation suggests that it cannot be used in evidence. In this way thousands of drivers have already escaped conviction for motoring offences, by returning "information" as required on unsigned forms.

The situation gained national publicity last year after a similar case in North Wales was dismissed. Since then many thousands of drivers have returned forms unsigned in the hope of escaping conviction. Although no official figure exists, we have heard estimates ranging up to 100,000 unsigned forms cases in the system at present.

If the appeal is won, drivers will not have to sign their forms and the speed camera system will be thrown into chaos. Paul Smith of Safe Speed comments: "Speed cameras have had a strong negative effect on UK road safety overall, and it will be a very good thing indeed if the appeal is won. We will be on
track for getting back to the excellent road safety policies that gave us the safest roads in the world long before speed cameras."

Idris Francis said: "I am appealing this matter in the interests of road safety and the law, and on behalf of responsible motorists. It is unacceptable that the law is in disarray on the matter. I abhor the way that long
established legal principles including the right to silence and the presumption of innocence have been eroded to enable speed cameras to be widely installed. My investigations into the overall effects of speed cameras confirm that they have been very bad indeed for UK road safety."

The appeal follows a case in Aldershot on the 28th August last year where magistrates convicted Mr Francis of  "failing to provide information" under S172. There was no dispute that information had been provided, it had  - the question, then as now, was: "Is it sufficient to satisfy the requirements of law to provide the information on a form that is not signed?"

John Josephs, Mr Francis solicitor, said: "There are two main reasons why the present system is unfair. First, the system does not discriminate between those drivers who are greatly exceeding the limit at busy times and those who are marginally over the limit but are otherwise driving perfectly safely.  Second, although the points system is often compared to the "yellow card" in football, a player knows that he has been given a yellow card.  In many cases a motorist may fall foul of a hidden mobile camera more than once in a few days without even knowing it." 

The case is listed for hearing on Tuesday 16th March 2004 at 10.00 at the High Court. The exact details will be published on Monday at the following web address:



Notes for Editors:

The Motorist:
Idris Francis
Tel: 01730 829  416
Mobile:  07717 222  459  
Email: irfrancis@onetel.net.uk 

The Motorist's Solicitor:
John Josephs
Turner Coulston, Solicitors
15, Station Road,
Kettering Northants NN15 7HH
Tel: 01536-523434
Fax: 01536-310138
Email: john@turner-coulston.co.uk
Website: www.tclaw.co.uk

The legislation in question is "S172" of the Road Traffic Act 1988, superseded by S21 of the Road Traffic Act 1991:


About Safe Speed: 

Since setting up Safe Speed in 2001, Paul Smith, 48, an advanced motorist and road safety enthusiast, and a professional engineer of 25 years UK experience, has carried out in excess of 4,500 hours of research into the overall effects of speed camera policy on UK road safety. We believe that this is more work in more detail than anything carried out by any other organisation. Paul's surprising conclusion is that overall speed cameras make our roads more dangerous. Paul has identified and reported a number of major flaws and false assumptions in the claims made for speed cameras, and the whole "speed kills"
system of road safety.  

The inescapable conclusion is that we should urgently return to the excellent road safety policies that gave us in the UK the safest roads in the World in the first place.  

Safe Speed does not campaign against speed limits or appropriate enforcement of motoring laws, but argues vigorously that automated speed enforcement is neither safe nor appropriate.  

Contact Safe Speed: 

web: http://www.safespeed.org.uk  
email : psmith@safespeed.org.uk 
telephone: 01862 832000 anytime.  
mobile: 07799 045553  
note: the mobile does not work well at our office. Always try land line first.  
Location: North Scotland  

We are available for press and media interviews.

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Copyright © SafeSpeed 2004
Created 14/03/2004. Last update 14/03/2004