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Dame Sarah Storey calls out "entitlement" of speeding drivers — "too many 'my driving offences won't cause harm' attitudes"

Britain's most decorated Paralympian is now active travel commissioner for Greater Manchester and joined the discussion surrounding Suella Braverman's speed awareness course controversy...

Paralympic cyclist-turned-active travel commissioner Dame Sarah Storey and leading roads policing figure Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox have added their views to the wider discussion about speeding on Britain's roads, discourse that has been in the public eye during the scrutiny of home secretary Suella Braverman's alleged desire to arrange a private speed awareness course following a speeding offence.

Yesterday, we reported that cycling campaign group the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) had criticised Braverman for "avoiding public scrutiny" by allegedly requesting civil servants arrange a private speed awareness course in order to avoid the Conservative politician being recognised by members of the public.

The story has prompted many national newspaper and talk show opinion pieces on the wider issue of speeding, one from Simon Jenkins in today's Guardian titled 'Get a grip, Westminster – Suella Braverman speeding is hardly the issue of the day' and the Mail's Richard Littlejohn calling it a "squabble [...] nobody died".

"Utterly unacceptable"

However, stressing the seriousness to road safety, DCS Andy Cox — the national lead for fatal collision reporting who has now taken a role within the Metropolitan Police — called speeding an "utterly unacceptable" act.

"In the last 24 hours, there has been a lot of debate regarding speeding," DCS Cox noted. "Speeding is a leading cause of fatal crashes, destroys life and leaves bereaved families with lifelong impact. I hope the debate moves onto the offence itself, the risk it posed and why speeding is utterly unacceptable."

Adding to Cox's thoughts, Storey, who last year replaced Chris Boardman as Greater Manchester active travel commissioner, said some of the social media replies to the tweet, downplaying the danger of speeding, showed the "entitlement and subsequent risk" posed by many.

"Some of the responses and quote tweets on this statement, from a leading police expert, demonstrates perfectly the level of entitlement and subsequent risk posed by some drivers," Storey wrote. 

"Too many 'my speeding/driving offences won't cause harm' attitudes, but every driver who contributed to the c.1800/year death toll thought the same. Also many thousands are left with life-changing injuries because a driver didn't acknowledge it could happen to them. Driving is a skill that's never retested despite the size of machine and risk.

"Are speed awareness courses trivialised by so many because they aren't proportional to the offence? Is the content lacking impact to reduce reoffending? What would work better? Ultimately the choice can't be that speeding is accepted as part of life."

> Dame Sarah Storey joins South Yorkshire Police on close pass operation – and almost one in five drivers get pulled over

Simon Munk, Head of Campaigns at the LCC yesterday told that "anyone in public life, let alone someone responsible for the public's safety, attempting to stand above the public on this issue and avoid an appropriate punishment is deeply concerning".

Braverman says she is "confident nothing untoward happened", but also refused to be drawn over whether she asked civil servants to arrange a private speed awareness course having been caught speeding in 2022.

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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