Bristol

Safety camera group wants more to attend speed courses

Speed camera with passing cars
Image caption More motorists could get the chance to go on road safety courses

More drivers caught speeding in Avon and Somerset could be given the option of being sent on courses rather than be issued penalty points and given fines.

The Safety Camera Partnership has been discussing options for its future following cuts in government funding.

Several options have been considered including outsourcing some of its work to neighbouring Dorset Constabulary.

The favoured option would see the speed which drivers are eligible for courses raised to bring in more revenue.

Currently motorists who are marginally over the speed limit are given the option of going on a driving safety course but now others who are driving faster may also get that option.

The partnership said in 2009/10 some 169,293 speed offences were detected and of these 79,443 were eligible for speed awareness courses.

Higher speeds

A report, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showed that in 2009/10 some 46,482 took up the offer of the course at a cost of £60 rather than accept a fine and penalty points on their licence.

By increasing the margins for which speeding motorists are eligible to be sent on Speed Choice courses, the partnership is hoping to increase revenue levels.

An independent report by Deloitte claimed the move could raise an extra £240,000 per year.

Partnership manager Dick Bowen said: "The whole project can be self funded."

He added that those motorists caught driving at higher speeds would be sent on courses that would be "focussed" to them.

The option of going on a course would only be available once in a three year period otherwise motorists will be prosecuted as per current arrangements.

The changes could also see the current Safecam Project Team, based in Taunton, disbanded with responsibilities shifted to Avon and Somerset Police and local councils.

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