Putting the brakes on speeders

Many will be aware of the anecdotal encounter between speeding motorist and police officer.

“Haven’t you anything better to do, constable?” whines the driver, irritated at being pulled over for what he – and it is usually he – considers a trivial infraction of the road traffic laws.

Those motorists who sympathise with the aforementioned fellow road user will probably get a bit hot under the collar when they learn Police Scotland is to issue formal warnings for drivers clocked just a few mph over the limit. This contrasts with the current position where the offender faces no action or an informal ticking off.

But a speeding motorist can often accelerate into a careless or dangerous one, with tragic consequences. And if a formal warning – which won’t be a conviction – results in preventing injury or death further down the road, so to speak, then surely this move by Police Scotland should be welcomed by all sensible road users.

Chief Constable Sir Stephen House has made tackling road deaths one of his top three priorities. The others are violence and antisocial behaviour – ‘real crimes’, some might say. But surely saving lives is just as important.

After all, part of the police service’s responsibility is to protect us – even from ourselves.