Speeding van driver found guilty
after failed speed limiter defence


A speeding van driver who tried to escape conviction by claiming that his speed limiter prevented him from exceeding the set speed has been found guilty.

Stuart Dargue’s Ford Transit was detected at between 36mph and 38mph when he passed a speed enforcement vehicle operated by Cumbria Police. 

But Mr Dargue, of Irthington, Carlisle, who appeared before Carlisle Magistrates’ Court last week, denied the offence claiming that he had been using the speed limiting device on his van. This, he said, prevented him from exceeding the set speed. 

But Road Safety Support Technical Manager and expert witness, Steve Callaghan, who was engaged by Cumbria Police to assist with the case, recovered the instruction manual for the vehicle’s speed limiter. Unfortunately for Mr Dargue, the manual had a section entitled ‘Intentionally Exceeding the Set Speed Limit.’

It showed that it could be disabled by two different switches on the steering column and by the driver simply pressing the accelerator down past a position that disabled the device. 

This being an optional limitation of the speed, entirely in the control of the driver, it did not prevent the speed setting from being exceeded, Steve Callaghan told the court. He claimed use of the speed limiter was no more reliable than saying “I didn’t do it”, he said.

Mr Dargue (50) also alleged that the mobile speed camera that captured the offence, a Laser Witness Lite, had not been operated correctly because the aim of it was moving during the measurements.

At the hearing on July 15, Magistrates found Mr Dargue guilty after rejecting the evidence that he and his defence expert provided. Mr Dargue, a director of three separate limited companies, stated he was on a minimum wage. As a result, he was fined £125 and ordered to pay costs of £625 a victim surcharge of £34.

His licence was endorsed with three penalty points.

Mr Dargue paid the fine and costs immediately. 


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