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The question: Speeding penalties

Last week Transport Secretary Alistair Darling announced plans for stepped speeding penalties.

This week we ask how do you think the system should work?

Speeding fines should exist primarily as a penalty, not to raise money. However the underlying issues are not being dealt with.

Why do manufacturers produce cars that exceed the maximum speed limit? When I was small, cars started to rattle and shudder once any significant speed, say 60mph, was reached. Combined with massive air turbulence and noise, this resulted in slower driving to avoid the car from disintegrating on your journey.

Cars now are too comfortable, too quiet and too fast. I say keep the penalties, and staged penalties do seem sensible. Introduce legislation to limit car speeds at source, and massively fund the public transport infrastructure to get cars off the road.

Dan Hooper, 42, site supervisor, Taunton/Ottery St Mary/ Christchurch (all done by car)

I agree with stepped fines but these should be factored to time of day, eg fines double between 8am and 10am on schooldays.

Insurance premium tax rates should also be variable in line with penalty points on the driver's licence. Serious offenders should be restricted to driving only vehicles painted bright orange and capable of maximum speeds of 30mph. Speed camera locations should be established by local people, who have an interest in the camera's effectiveness and not their revenue potential. A more radical approach could be:

1st offence - air bag removed from vehicle.

2nd offence - driver's seat belt removed.

3rd offence - sharp metal spike fitted to steering wheel

Jerry Cutter, 50, associate South Wales

A sliding scale is clearly reasonable. Fines should at least cover the costs of collection, and full use should be made of appropriate technology such as speed cameras. Arguments about whether they are installed merely to raise revenue are irrelevant.

Law breakers should be punished, not encouraged to whine about the reason they were caught.

Dave Tomlinson, 59, manager, Argyll

I think it is time penalties were increased for speeding, whether in built up areas or on the open road, such that they become a deterrent rather than an inconsequential punishment or badge of honour, to be recounted with gusto at dinner parties. The most effective deterrent, following the witnessing of a road traffic accident, is the sign that flashes 'slow down'.

Whether it's embarrassment or a subconscious guilt, it does seem to have the desired effect.

George Miezitis, 54, operations team leader, Fife

In 1997, Labour was elected on the platform of joined up transport. This has never materialised. Surely the umpteenth Secretary of State for Transport since then would have his time better spent delivering promises.

David Nimmo Smith, 54, loss adjuster, Henley on Thames

It is a fairer system but 'slight speeding' should not attract any penalty points unless there is persistent offending after due warnings. Removing some revenue generating speed cameras is the next step to having a discriminating system based on sensible driving. Slow down at schools and let's not have police bikes waiting to trap motorists at 5.30am on clear roads.

Geoff Home, 55, director, North Yorkshire

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