Motorway drivers face 'pay as you speed' plan

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The Independent Online
MINISTERS are considering extending the principle of toll motorways by charging extra to drivers who break the speed limit, even by as little as 5mph.

Electronic tags implanted in every car have already been mooted as a way to charge motorists for each mile travelled, but in an interview published today, Robert Key, Roads and Traffic Minister, hints that once the tags were in place, he would like to make greater use of them.

Motoring organisations criticised Mr Key strongly last night. The AA said his proposal appeared to be 'a charter for the law-breaking rich', who would be able to travel faster by paying more. The RAC's campaign manager Edmund King said only 3 per cent of accidents happened on motorways, and speeding was not the major cause.

Mr Key makes his suggestion in an interview published today in Carweek magazine. He says he could see a situation where it is decided that for every 5mph over the speed limit, drivers are charged an extra 50p a mile.

This charge would be on top of a proposed 'normal' tariff of 1.5p a mile for the same journey travelled at 70mph or less.

The DoT first proposed options for charging for motorways in a discussion document Paying for Better Motorways published last May. If each vehicle was fitted with an electronic tag, it would react to signals as it passed beacons. The toll would be worked out automatically and would either be charged to the motorist's account, or could be deducted from a pre-paid 'smartcard' on the vehicle.

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