Roger Helmer MEP, an independent MEP in the European Parliament and but still a member of the Conservative Party, this week admitted that he regularly breaks speed limits on motorway runs. He also stated that, as proposed in the Conservative manifesto, he supports a raise of the speed limit on major roads from 70 mph to 80 mph.
Mr. Helmer argued that 'No matter how fast you are going, you get people passing you' and confirmed that he has recently been caught speeding with his Jaguar - driving at 38 mph in a 30 mph zone.
Bill Newton Dunn, Liberal Democrat Euro MP for the East Midlands, described Mr. Helmer's comments as 'irresponsible' and pointed out that, as a law-maker, Helmer was setting a poor example.
Bill said: "Research published by the Common's Transport Committee shows that a 10 mph increase on motorways would result in a 10% increase in casualties every year. Mr. Helmer is advocating this increase without thinking about the trauma it would cause to family members who lose their loved ones due to irresponsible and careless driving by speeding motorists. Also, increased speed limits would lead to higher emissions of CO2 and subsequently higher levels of pollution."
He continued: "Speeding is illegal. Mr. Helmer is knowingly breaking the law and puts fellow drivers at a risk. This is unacceptable behavior when our main priority should be to make our roads safer. The argument that many drivers break the speed limit does not justify his selfish action?"
This week, Leicestershire police have warned motorists to slow down in icy weather and said that they would not tolerate the blatant disregard for traffic regulations, particularly when the safety of road users is compromised.
Representing the UK road charity Brake, Mary Williams OBE and Chief Executive added:
Mary Williams OBE, Chief Executive of Brake, the national road safety charity, added: "For an MEP to regularly speed on motorways is irresponsible and sets a bad example to the people he represents. Speeding is illegal and speeding drivers put lives at risk through their selfish, dangerous actions.
Brake is strongly opposed to the idea of raising motorway speed limits. Research shows increasing motorway speed limits leads to an increase in casualties - causing more families to be devastated by road death or injury each year. To tackle the terrible carnage on our roads and improve road safety for all road users, we need to crack down on speeding drivers, not allow them to drive even faster."