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California
Hi all

I've searched quite a bit and came up with nothing, so I'm assuming this is quite an unusual situation.

Just before Christmas, I was driving through the Queensway Mersey Tunnel, which I've done a couple of times before without bother.

I went through the toll booth in my car towards Liverpool, (just a typical everyday car), and started to notice that it was making an unusual noise when accelerating. Nowhere to pull over, and traffic around, so I proceeded into the tunnel.

Half way in, and this noise is getting louder, so I reduced my speed, and the noise died down. The speedo probably was showing 25-30. I've read that sometimes that goes in your favour, your speedo can overread, but in my case it's damaging.

Anyway, come out the other end at Liverpool, and the tunnel police signalled for me to pull over into the layby. Told me there was an officer doing speed checks in the tunnel, (didn't see one, only a service van in some disused part). I insisted I wasn't speeding, because I wasn't.

He says he knows I wasn't speeding, but that I was going below the "minimum" speed limit???? He reckons got me clocked at 24mph, in a minimum speed limit area of 30.

Basically read my rights, took my details down, (I didn't mention the engine noise at the time, went no comment to his questions). Didn't give me anything, no tickets etc, but told me in a roundabout way that he would be reporting the matter and I'd hear from them.

Incidentally, the fault was the wheel bearing, so nothing significant, but the first time I've heard one.

Anyone know what is likely to happen? Will I get points/fine? Received nothing up to now, but obviously been Christmas.

Thanks
mdann52
If he read you your rights, you probably got a "verbal NIP" (ie. he told you at the roadside you could be prosecuted), and as they know the drivers details, there is no need to send anything to confirm the identity of the driver. You'll probably have to wait for either a COFP (Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty), or a summons, which can take up to 6 months. Not sure as to penalty - my research has drawn a blank - I'm sure someone else will advise!
Jlc
QUOTE (California @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 20:03) *
I didn't mention the engine noise at the time, went no comment to his questions

Did they say, "You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence"?
peterguk
QUOTE (California @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 20:03) *
went no comment to his questions


For future reference, a sure way to "fail the attitude test".
Jlc
QUOTE (California @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 20:03) *
Anyone know what is likely to happen? Will I get points/fine? Received nothing up to now, but obviously been Christmas.

I believe they would progress the matter as 'careless driving'. They may offer a fixed penalty - 3 points £100.

Otherwise it's 3-9 points at court.
andy_foster
QUOTE (California @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 20:03) *
Basically read my rights, took my details down, (I didn't mention the engine noise at the time, went no comment to his questions). Didn't give me anything, no tickets etc, but told me in a roundabout way that he would be reporting the matter and I'd hear from them.


In many cases (particularly TV licensing) people sing like canaries when cautioned that they do not have to say anything (and incriminate themselves in the process). In your case, the pertinent part of the caution is "But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court."

Obviously, it is easy to be wise after the event (and when sat in front of the laptop), but you should be aware that your failure to mention the mechanical issues when you were stopped is likely to harm your credibility if you subsequently try to use it as a defence.

The only other time I've ever heard of anybody being stopped for failing to comply with a minimum speed limit was when my dad was in the police and stopped our next door neighbour as a wind-up (N.B. that never happened), so I am unfortunately unable to offer anything more helpful at the moment.
California
EDIT

Found the Holy Grail I think!

http://www.merseytunnels.co.uk/nossl/html/byelaws.pdf

Surely Section 4b gives me a complete pass on this?
southpaw82
QUOTE (andy_foster @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 20:43) *
Obviously, it is easy to be wise after the event (and when sat in front of the laptop), but you should be aware that your failure to mention the mechanical issues when you were stopped is likely to harm your credibility if you subsequently try to use it as a defence.

I don't think it's likely to be a problem. Whether there was a defect is a matter of fact and if he can get some corroboration of that (such as a repair bill from a garage or even just a defect report) then there's no adverse inference to be drawn.
cp8759
QUOTE (California @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 20:03) *
He says he knows I wasn't speeding, but that I was going below the "minimum" speed limit???? He reckons got me clocked at 24mph, in a minimum speed limit area of 30.

Minimum speed limit signs do exist, the sign is a white number on a blue background, the example in the Highway Code is indeed a 30mph limit (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/traffic-signs). It might be worthwhile checking the location to confirm a) That the sign is there and b) that there are repeaters along the length of the tunnel.

QUOTE (California @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 20:03) *
Basically read my rights, took my details down, (I didn't mention the engine noise at the time, went no comment to his questions). Didn't give me anything, no tickets etc, but told me in a roundabout way that he would be reporting the matter and I'd hear from them.

You've shot yourself in the foot there. The expectation is that an innocent person would give an account consistent with innocence when challenged. It would have been much better to mention the noise at the time; the fact that you've gone no comment means that, at trial, the court can make an "adverse inference". In layman's terms, this means that the court *might* decide that there was no noise, the noise is something you've made up later, and the reason you didn't mention it at the time is because you hadn't made it up yet.

At this point you're just going to have to wait for the paperwork. In the mean time, the "noise" defence is not out the window just yet, but you'll need some solid evidence to persuade a court. An obvious starting point would be to get the paperwork from whatever garage has diagnosed the problem; you'll also want a signed witness statement (using this form: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure.../ws001-eng.doc) confirming a) that on such and such a date Mr Mechanic diagnosed your car with a faulty wheel bearing and b) That the wheel bearing was causing the wheel to make the mechanical noise you describe. It would also be sensible to retain the faulty wheel bearing as well so that it can be exhibited in court.

QUOTE (California @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 21:01) *
EDIT

Found the Holy Grail I think!

http://www.merseytunnels.co.uk/nossl/html/byelaws.pdf

Surely Section 4b gives me a complete pass on this?

If that document is up to date then yes. Looking on Google Maps, as of July 2015 there was a minimum 10mph and maximum 40mph limit. If the minimum limit is still 10mph, chances are you won't hear anything and the paperwork will have been binned once it got to the back office for processing.
The Rookie
So it’s OK to break the law when it suites you? Much like exceeding the limit that argument would go down faster than a lead balloon in court. Careless driving doesnt have to be careless, just driving that falls below the standard of a careful and competent driver.
cp8759
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 21:23) *
So it’s OK to break the law when it suites you? Much like exceeding the limit that argument would go down faster than a lead balloon in court. Careless driving doesnt have to be careless, just driving that falls below the standard of a careful and competent driver.

You're allowed to stop on a motorway or clearway if you break down, why wouldn't you be able to drive below the minimum speed limit if compelled to do so by a mechanical fault? Whether the OP was compelled to do so is arguable (not knowing what the fault was, driving at a higher rate of speed might have caused danger to other road users / an accident) so it's not that cut and dry that any offence has been committed. I note nobody has suggested the OP plead guilty.
andy_foster
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 21:23) *
So it’s OK to break the law when it suites you?


Other than the atrocious spelling, can you clarify exactly what you are being sanctimonious about this time?
The OP appears to be saying that, regardless of the mechanical issues, the minimum speed limits are 10mph for the left hand lane and 20mph for the right hand lane, and that therefore he wasn't actually breaking any laws. Or are you simply castigating him for deciding that's its ok to 'break' laws that don't exist?
California
I am curious why I would have been stopped.

Surely these officers are specialists dedicated to the tunnels, and would therefore clearly know the speeds/byelaws in place?

Do officers sometimes pull people over "randomly" when looking for something else? If so, why the need to tell me about failing to comply with minimum speeds and explicitly tell me my speed was checked at 24mph, well above the minimum?

Is there some other offence which could relate to this?

I'm no lawyer, but there's no way they could prove that my driving was in any way substandard, (tunnel is full of CCTV cameras anyway), other than going slower than normal, to take into account a potential vehicle defect, which is surely what the law would probably define as competent and reasonable? In any event, going through at 11mph would have been fine, albeit frustrating!
southpaw82
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 21:23) *
So it’s OK to break the law when it suites you? Much like exceeding the limit that argument would go down faster than a lead balloon in court. Careless driving doesnt have to be careless, just driving that falls below the standard of a careful and competent driver.

The rules of the forum apply to you too. Off you pop.
cp8759
QUOTE (California @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 22:28) *
I am curious why I would have been stopped.

Surely these officers are specialists dedicated to the tunnels, and would therefore clearly know the speeds/byelaws in place?

Believe it or not, they are still fallible humans.
Logician
I think you should just check whether there has been any later amendment to those by-laws to increase the minimum speed limit
cp8759
QUOTE (Logician @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 00:54) *
I think you should just check whether there has been any later amendment to those by-laws to increase the minimum speed limit

And equally if not more importantly check the signs
Jlc
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 01:00) *
QUOTE (Logician @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 00:54) *
I think you should just check whether there has been any later amendment to those by-laws to increase the minimum speed limit

And equally if not more importantly check the signs

I couldn't see any minimum speed limit (blue) signs on GSV. Here for example.

Only maximum.
Logician
QUOTE (Jlc @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 08:16) *
I couldn't see any minimum speed limit (blue) signs on GSV. Here for example. Only maximum.


I agree but there were once some there, as shown on the cover of the Byelaws HERE

Confusion reigns HERE with different limits on the sign and the road markings!

spanner345
If 30mph is a minimum speed limit, I would have expected a sign forbidding mopeds from entering the tunnel. I see no such sign.
roythebus
As an example Dartford Tunnel is minimum 10mph, maximum 50.
DancingDad
Historical on streetview (2015) but these say 10mph minimum .
If they are still there, cannot see how a charge could stick.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.4099251,-...33;1b1!2i40

Couldn't see any coming the other way till way into tunnel
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.4158795,-...33;1b1!2i40
typefish
QUOTE (DancingDad @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 14:42) *
Historical on streetview (2015) but these say 10mph minimum .
If they are still there, cannot see how a charge could stick.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.4099251,-...33;1b1!2i40

Couldn't see any coming the other way till way into tunnel
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.4158795,-...33;1b1!2i40


I had fallen for that too - until I had realised that there are at least two regal tunnels - this is of the Kingsway tunnel as opposed to the one OP appears to be having problems with - the Queensway.
DancingDad
QUOTE (typefish @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 15:07) *
......I had fallen for that too - until I had realised that there are at least two regal tunnels - this is of the Kingsway tunnel as opposed to the one OP appears to be having problems with - the Queensway.


Ah...sorry.
bama
these appear to be the current byelaws
http://www.merseytunnels.co.uk/nossl/html/byelaws.pdf
typefish
QUOTE (bama @ Tue, 2 Jan 2018 - 16:10) *
these appear to be the current byelaws
http://www.merseytunnels.co.uk/nossl/html/byelaws.pdf


Well, I'd hope not - as GSV doesn't suggest that there are any 38T weight restrictions!
Unzippy
QUOTE (The Rookie @ Mon, 1 Jan 2018 - 22:23) *
So it’s OK to break the law when it suites you? Much like exceeding the limit that argument would go down faster than a lead balloon in court. Careless driving doesnt have to be careless, just driving that falls below the standard of a careful and competent driver.


laugh.gif
A careful and competant driver wouldn’t ignore sounds of mechanical distress from their car...
big_mac
I wonder if the OP may have put the wrong tunnel - the Queensway tunnel has a 30mph limit, and I doubt an officer would be so confused as to believe that the minimum and maximum speeds were the same. There is also no easy place to stop a vehicle on the exit, unlike the Kingsway tunnel.

Either way, neither tunnel has a 30mph minimum speed - I would hope that when someone looks at the paperwork it may be quietly dropped.
Ocelot
I would be amazed if they decided to prosecute the OP over this, considering the circumstances, even if 30 turns out to be the minimum speed.
baroudeur
What method would be used for speed checks carried out in the tunnel? huh.gif
cp8759
QUOTE (baroudeur @ Thu, 4 Jan 2018 - 16:38) *
What method would be used for speed checks carried out in the tunnel? huh.gif

Well the OP said they "Told me there was an officer doing speed checks in the tunnel" so presumably manned equipment?
baroudeur
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Sat, 6 Jan 2018 - 02:31) *
QUOTE (baroudeur @ Thu, 4 Jan 2018 - 16:38) *
What method would be used for speed checks carried out in the tunnel? huh.gif

Well the OP said they "Told me there was an officer doing speed checks in the tunnel" so presumably manned equipment?


I realised that but surely random reflections would be a problem using manned equipment in a tunnel? Just curious.
cp8759
QUOTE (baroudeur @ Sat, 6 Jan 2018 - 17:15) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Sat, 6 Jan 2018 - 02:31) *
QUOTE (baroudeur @ Thu, 4 Jan 2018 - 16:38) *
What method would be used for speed checks carried out in the tunnel? huh.gif

Well the OP said they "Told me there was an officer doing speed checks in the tunnel" so presumably manned equipment?


I realised that but surely random reflections would be a problem using manned equipment in a tunnel? Just curious.

Wouldn't a laser device avoid such problems?
bama
QUOTE
Well, I'd hope not - as GSV doesn't suggest that there are any 38T weight restrictions!

eer, you are putting something GSV doesn't show as being above the byelaws published by the Authority.

thats a logic failure
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