Clause 2

Part of Road Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 20th January 2005.

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Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport 3:00 pm, 20th January 2005

As my hon. Friend will see when we deal with the amendments to clause 3, our discussion document on speeding set a framework in which there could be no discretion—a person would be charged depending on the various elements. That was discussed and, if this becomes law, there will be further consultation. That is an example of a case in which, once a matter has been through consultation and discussed in Committees of the House, there is unlikely   to be discretion. However, in other cases, police officers enforcing the law will, as they do now, take the circumstances into account and make a judgment.

When a police officer at the side of the road pulls somebody up, he makes a judgment as to the severity of the offence—for instance, driving at 40 mph in a 30 mph zone might on some occasions not appear to be dangerous, whereas on other occasions, in a busy high street, with children crossing the road, it can be utterly outrageous. One could argue that at 3 o'clock in the morning, that there is still a danger—partly because more crashes happen at night than during the day—but that it is less dangerous. It is for police officers to make that judgment, just as they do now on almost all offences.