Almost 100 drivers were fined for speeding on a motorway despite highways officials admitting the 20mph limit was set by mistake – but the motorists’ convictions will still stand despite the admission.
The department for transport soon realised this could be a nice little earner and have implemented a random speed limit generator across the UK. A DFT spokesman said, ‘Sometimes we like to mix it up a bit: 70 – 21, 60 -16. Once, we gave everyone on the M1 a ten minute treat by posting up – Go Crazy! It’s ze Autobahn! We then dropped it to 12. Copped about seven million for that.’
Thousands of drivers drove past the restriction before exiting the road, with some 439 drivers caught by a speed camera – 97 of whom were prosecuted for speeding offences.
One Motorway driver said, ‘It started at 60mph then started clicking down in increments of 5. I thought I was in a Bond film. When it hit 20 I assumed they were taking the piss, or there was a bomb in my car that would detonate if I went below 20, so I hit the accelerator.’
Mr Richards, 53, from St Austell, said: ‘When I saw the speed limit I could not believe it. I have driven all over Europe and have never seen a 20mph speed limit on a motorway.
The Jones family also had a nasty surprise on the M4. Graham Jones was rushing his pregnant wife to hospital when the speed limit changed to minus 1. Graham said, ‘we had to go backwards through three continents and one wormhole. I’ve been driving for just over a year now and we should be at the hospital next week. On the upside my one-year-old daughter speaks fluent German, as I had some Rosetta Stone cd’s in the car.’