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Too soon to look at extending lower speed tolerance - AA

Talk of making the lower speed tolerance permanent is premature, says the Automobile Association.

This Friday will see the conclusion of a major two-month advertising and enforcement campaign on speed where any vehicle exceeding the speed limit by 5kph has faced a ticket from Police.

The idea of keeping the lower tolerance in place permanently has been raised in some recent media reports, but the AA says it is too soon to rush into a decision.

“December and January have had extremely low numbers of road deaths but it would be wrong to claim that is all down to the reduced tolerance,” says AA Motoring Affairs General Manager Mike Noon.

“January 2013 had the lowest number of road deaths since records began and it only had the lower tolerance in place for a few days. January this year has had the lower tolerance in place for the whole month and, as of this morning, there had been four more road deaths than the same time last year. It shows that there is a lot more than just speed involved in road crashes.”

An informed consideration over making the lower tolerance permanent will require a full and thorough evaluation of its impact and it will likely be months before the data to do that is available, says Mr Noon.

“Over the last two months we have seen a massive road safety advertising campaign and a major Police presence on the roads. Whether the reduced tolerance would be as effective without this publicity is a question the evaluation will need to look at.”

The AA, which has 1.4 million Members, has also undertaken a survey which showed divided opinion over the lower tolerance.

A survey sent to 10,000 random AA Members in late December found:

• 57% of respondents supported the extended lower tolerance for December and January while 37% opposed it

• 82% wanted to see a 10kph tolerance retained on motorways and passing lanes

• 65% thought the change was motivated by road safety while 34% thought it was about revenue

ENDS

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