Speeding can sometimes save lives, the UK Department for Transport (DfT) admitted late last month. The department is currently considering whether to give customs and revenue agents license to break the country's speed limits. This would free the agency from the strict monitoring to which ordinary motorists are subjected through one of the world's largest speed camera networks. Drivers are held to account if accused of speeding by only a few miles per hour, with UK tickets carrying a minimum £60 fine (US $96) plus three points against the driver's license. Receiving four tickets within three years results in a license suspension. These penalties would not apply under proposed rules for revenue agents.

"Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs are seeking exemptions from speed limits for its covert surveillance vehicles," the DfT consultation document explains. "Customs surveillance operations mirror the activities of the police service and they have extensive arrest and investigatory powers."

Under current law, only police officers, firemen, ambulance drivers and serious organized crime agencies can legally ignore the posted limit. In addition, designated emergency services can run red lights and pass traffic on shoulders. The proposed regulations would allow a handful of other categories of drivers to enjoy the same privileges if they meet certain requirements.