The "Criminalising" and "bringing the law into disrepute" myths busted

Another question we have had put to us is :-

“In moving from 30mph to 20mph without adequate physical changes and/or enforcement, we are criminalising a higher percentage of people and that brings the law into disrepute”.

* Laws change or are revised because of a change in public consensus. We know that over 70% of the population support 20mph limits without traffic calming in residential streets – British Social Attitudes Surveys tell us so – see https://travelwest.info/project/ee-113-city-wide-residential-streets-20mph-speed-limits.  Support for 20mph has remained this high for a decade.

* Any time a law is revised/updated there is a period of transition. This is so whether it is changing a 30mph road to a 20mph road, seat belt wearing, smoking in a car with children, hitting children, hand held mobile phone use when driving etc. Acts which were not criminal before become criminal and people have to adjust their behaviour to the new norm.

* 51% of drivers aren’t compliant with 30mph

* at 20mph limit the non compliers (speeders) aren’t imposing as much danger on the rest of society as when not compliant at 30mph.

* advertising the change to drivers (engagement activities to enhance compliance) in advance of the change and for some time after the change is highly recommended to make drivers aware of lower limits and to reduce the transition period length and thereby improve compliance levels.

* It is likely that the same drivers who speed in a 30mph limit will deliberately speed in a 20mph limits. There are probably very few extra people deciding to speed (engage in deliberately criminal  driving).

* There aren’t that many drivers who are unaware of the change in limit to 20mph if the limit is signed well enough and wide enough. So there are few people who can claim “I didn’t know it was 20mph”

* if other laws were not being enforced we would not say the law was wrong. We’d blame lack of enforcement!

* Lack of enforcement and engagement brings the law enforcers into disrepute not the laws. 20mph doesn’t criminalise more drivers or bring the law into disrepute if the limit is enforced. Drivers are less likely to speed if the police support the 20mph policy publicly and routinely enforce it.

In summary

There are no extra drivers speeding

There is a strong separation between elected representatives who set laws based on public consensus and the police for who enforce them and the independent judiciary who sentences.

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