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First Minister: ‘Genuinely confused’ drivers will not be fined for breaking 20mph law

08 Jan 2024 3 minute read
First Minister, Mark Drakeford

Mark Drakeford has suggested drivers will not be fined for breaching the new default 20mph speed limit if they were “genuinely confused”.

The outgoing First Minister said those who “deliberately” break the law will face consequences but that police will not jump straight to enforcement if people have simply “misunderstood”.

Last year, Wales became the first country in the UK to drop the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph in built-up areas. Enforcement of the limit begins this month.

Asked during a press conference in Cardiff about the possibility of people being fined because the messaging over the law has not been clear enough, Mr Drakeford said: “I don’t think they will be fined in those circumstances.

Education

“I think if the police find somebody driving above 20 miles an hour and the reason is because they are genuinely confused about that, then that’s why the police will always start with education and conversation.

“I don’t think in those circumstances of genuine confusion, the police will move to enforcement.”

The First Minister conceded that the policy should be “fine-tuned” and kept “under review” to ensure consistency across different local authorities throughout Wales.

There have been “anomalies” in its introduction, he said, including with road signage which some drivers have complained is unclear.

Mr Drakeford said that in cases where motorists drive “well above” the limit the law would have to be enforced.

Asked to specify what speed would be considered “well above” 20mph, he said previous cases relating to pre-existing 20mph zones had involved people driving “closer to 30 than 20”.

“Not a couple of miles over, but well in excess of what people were obliged to do, so if that’s a sort of rule of thumb I think that’s how the police have interpreted that so far,” he said.

A petition against the rollout of the law, on the Welsh Parliament’s petitions page, has now been signed by more than 460,000 people.

Review

The two candidates in the running to replace Mr Drakeford as the next Welsh Labour leader after his planned resignation in March have said they would launch a review of the law if elected.

Mr Drakeford said on Monday he had been clear from the outset that the policy would be kept under review.

Outlining the wider agenda for the last months of his leadership, the Welsh Labour leader said getting the draft 2024-25 budget passed through the Senedd would be a “key piece of work.”

He hit out at “real-terms” cuts in the block grant received by the UK Government.

The budget is now now worth £1.3 billion less than when it was set by then-chancellor Rishi Sunak three years ago due to inflation, he said.

“It’s after more than a decade of austerity, a botched Brexit, a Covid pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis that we’ve had to make some very stark and difficult choices as we developed the draft budget for 2024-25,” he told the conference.


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Steve Woods
Steve Woods
5 months ago

If drivers are ‘genuinely confused‘, they should not be on the road in the first place, let alone behind the steering wheel.

hdavies15
hdavies15
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Woods

My thoughts exactly. This could become known as the Drakeford loophole through which one can drive a car, not just a horse and cart !.

karl
karl
5 months ago

I am sick of this allowance of big babies in tin cans that can murder, being hand held. Fine them all.

William Rees
William Rees
5 months ago

Nearly half a million signatures to rescind this farce and Drakeford and his cronies are still not listening. The minority who support this will think again when they see their council tax payments rocket and witness the collapse of the hospitality industry due to visitors vetoing it.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
5 months ago
Reply to  William Rees

Nearly half a million signatures on petition in country with over 2.3 million registered to vote means that only about a fifth of the electorate, in terms of numbers, care enough to object by putting their names to a semi-literate and wildly inaccurate petition. Take away the large number who are using multiple accounts and who live outside of Wales and the numbers come tumbling down, and even if they do appear to come from within Wales, it’s trivial to live somewhere else and use a Welsh postcode. It’s a minority who support the petition, that isn’t binding in any… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
5 months ago

Make sure the roads are signed correctly, put repeaters up, that is one thing I think should be added everywhere (then no confusion ploy). Then the rest is covered by the Highway Code and the the law and let the police deal with it.

Owning Glyndwr
Owning Glyndwr
5 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

That’s what we need, more and more road signs

Jeff
Jeff
5 months ago
Reply to  Owning Glyndwr

20mph near me has many feeder roads on to it. Such a road with a few repeaters will remove confusion and save drivers that may be confused thus remove the need for fines. After all, no matter what you think of the law, you will obey it right? I mean, if you willingly break it when there is good signage and get points then you cannot complain.

Owning Glyndwr
Owning Glyndwr
5 months ago

Drakeford confused. He admits it

Erisian
Erisian
5 months ago

Given that there are still hundreds, if not thousands,of 20 MPH zones with 30 MPH signs there is still room for confusion.

I wonder when Google Maps and Sat Nav companies will catch up with reality.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
5 months ago

Huh? What’s confusing about it – you match the number on the roadsign with the number on your speedometer.

David
David
5 months ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Ha ha ha ha

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
5 months ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Then you could be speeding and confused.

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