German judge lets speeding drivers off the hook

Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:56pm EST
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BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - A German judge has shot to popularity after letting 42 speeding drivers off without charges in the last week because he thinks speed controls merely serve to fill the state's coffers rather than prevent accidents.

Bernd Kahre, spokesman for Herford court in northwestern Germany where judge Helmut Knoener works, told Reuters the 62-year-old wanted to make a stand against the current practice of prosecuting speeders.

He said Knoener believed speed controls were not conducted to ensure greater road safety, but rather to provide the cash-strapped state with an additional source of income.

Knoener sees no legal justification for using photos in speeding-related court cases and is calling for clearer regulations about how, when and where speed controls can be conducted.

But the speeders who think they've got off scot free may be in for a shock yet -- the Public Prosecution Service can still appeal the sentences, Kahre said.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin, editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>Cars drive along a city highway past a sign indicating when the new pollution class for cars is valid, in Berlin November 27, 2007. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch</p>