MOTORISTS will soon face £100 fines for driving at 24mph in Oxford if a police plan to crackdown on those breaking 20mph limits goes ahead.

Only drivers travelling at 32mph or more can currently be given tickets in zones introduced across the city in 2009.

But under new national policing guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), officers could from next month hand out a speeding ticket which comes with a £100 fine and three points, or offer drivers a £95 education course and therefore avoid points on the licence.

Chief Inspector Henry Parsons, head of the force’s roads policing unit, said it did not have to adopt the ACPO guidelines, but he said it was “extremely likely” it would.

He said: “This will help change the attitudes of those who get caught breaching 20mph limits and in turn change their behaviour, which is critical in making roads safer for all who use them or live near them.”

Under the guidelines, motorists caught driving between 24mph and 31mph would be offered the speed awareness course or a ticket.

If they were travelling up to 34mph, they would be fined, and if they were going 35mph or more they would be reported to the courts.

The Oxford Mail revealed in August that 20mph zones introduced by the county council across the city in 2009 at a cost of £250,000 had made the roads safer.

Figures showed accidents fell by 18 per cent after the zones were brought in.
In November last year, an Oxford Mail survey in 20mph St Giles found 85 per cent of drivers were speeding.

Supporters of the new plans last night said the threat of a fine would make the 20mph limits more meaningful. And Oxfordshire County Council has also said it could now look at introducing the speed limits elsewhere.

David Nimmo Smith, county council cabinet member for transport, yesterday said if police were stricter then more drivers would pay attention to the speed limits.

He also said: “If the police are starting to enforce what we have already got, we can start thinking about bringing them in elsewhere.”

But he said funding would have to be available before more zones were created.

Taxi driver Colin Dobson said driving habits would change as the speed limits would have more force, adding: “They will definitely be adhered to more.”

Sushila Dhall, chairman of Oxford Pedestrians’ Association, said city roads would be safer.

She said: “This kind of thing saves lives and makes public space accessible to all modes of transport.

“When people complain about it, generally it is because they are drivers not walkers, wheelchair users or cyclists.”

Richard Mann, vice-chairman of cycling group Cyclox, said the stricter rules would help to make the city’s roads more “civilised”, adding: “This is a good step forward.”

But others are less happy about the proposals.

Plumber Kevin Wallington, of Parsons Place, was prosecuted for speeding in East Oxford last year.

The 47-year-old said ordinary people would be punished if police got stricter.

He said: “Everyone goes over 20mph because it is too slow. Lots of people are going to get done.”