Motorist fined for ignoring variable speed limit

In an example of what can happen when people ignore speed limits on smart motorways, a motorist has been told to pay more than £2,000 and been given points on his driving licence after pleading guilty to ignoring a variable speed limit and travelling twice the speed restriction set on the smart motorway in Northamptonshire.

Philip Abell, 65, of Wagon Way in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, was recorded by the variable speed camera driving his grey Mercedes at 43mph in a 20mph restriction zone shortly after 12.30pm on June 11 last year.

The offence took place on the northbound carriageway of the M1 at Junction 18, after the overhead gantry message signs had been activated to warn motorists of an oncoming vehicle travelling on that section of the Smart motorway.

On Tuesday, December 20, Abell submitted a guilty plea online at Northampton Magistrates’ Court admitting to one count of exceeding a variable speed limit. He received six penalty points on his driving licence and ordered to pay a £1,846 fine, £90 court costs and £184 victim surcharge.

Northamptonshire Police Safer Roads Operations Manager, Matt O’Connell, said: “The variable message signs and gantries on the smart motorway network indicate the mandatory speed limit along with relevant safety messaging and lane closures.

“On this occasion the signs were set to 20mph with a warning of an oncoming vehicle, which Mr Abell chose to ignore. Thankfully there wasn’t an incident due to his thoughtless actions however, it could have been very different.

“Signage on the motorway is there to provide important safety messages to motorists and it is therefore vital that we all follow them as directed as the consequences of driving just a few miles per hour above the limit can be the difference between life and death.

“Reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads remains the priority for Northamptonshire Police and our partners at the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance, and I’m pleased the courts have dealt with this case positively.”

(Picture – Northamptonshire Police)

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