They point out that there is an element of coercion to accept the ticket on the promise of a clean licence and don't believe that any plea of guilt can be based on such coercion. So far, they have been unable to find any legal authority whereby, once police have formally acknowledged an offence, they can then wheel and deal on behalf of a third party other than the judiciary.
Set up by ACPO Ltd, after The North Report had quite shrewdly concluded that speed cameras would massively increase speeding prosecutions, the scheme seems to be relying on Common Law cautions as a legal justification. However 'formal cautions are too recent for common law' say Drivers' Union. Prior to that, any cautions were totally informal and unrecorded. 'There never was a caution based on the requirement to pay a third party some money after proceedings had started' says Keith Peat the group's founder.
'it is extremely worrying that, when there is so much money involved - one area alone is bringing in £500,000 a month for two firms- what is the incentive to stop the speeding and sort out the flawed road layouts or speed limits that actually entice the speeding?' asks Keith.
'If the courses do not tell the students that speeding cannot cause anything, that the camera that got them there cannot detect accident causes and that the police have no idea who set the limit or if it is appropriate for the site, whilst students are shown graphic photographs of accident victims, that weren't caused by speeding then this is at best dishonest and at its worst fraudulent.'
The Drivers' Union believes that most of the drivers being ticketed are perfectly safe and are victims of layout issues. 'There's far too much focus on speeding at the expense of other accident causes. These courses may sound like a good deal but it depends on if the drivers should've been ticketed in the first place.' says Keith Peat.