Calls for more motorway police after 60,000 speeding drivers fined

ROAD safety campaigners are calling on the Government to invest more money in roads policing after an investigation by The Yorkshire Post today reveals almost 60,000 fines were handed to drivers speeding on the region's motorways in the last three years.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 28th May 2018, 11:21 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th June 2018, 12:32 pm
The average speed cameras are on the M621 in Leeds
The average speed cameras are on the M621 in Leeds

Brake said extra resources were needed to ensure there is a “true deterrent” to speeding after the shock toll of speeding drivers emerged.

Figures released to The Yorkshire Post under the Freedom of Information Act from police forces across the region show 59,135 fines were issued between 2015/16 and 2017/18.

More than half of the fines were issued by West Yorkshire Police, the force responsible for much of the region’s busiest motorways, including large stretches of the M1 from Huddersfield to Leeds, the M62 from Calderdale to Pontefract and the M606 in Bradford, plus parts of the A1(M).

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Through the three years, speed cameras in West Yorkshire recorded 30,431 speeding drivers, while officers caught a further 2,023 drivers with mobile cameras. The static camera figures show an increase from 10,334 in 2015/16 to 12,944 in 2017/18 – but a drop in 2016/17, when there were no average speed cameras on the M62 and M1, which boosted figures the previous year when roadworks for the smart motorway were under way.

Figures rose again last year after lane enforcement cameras were switched on. The motorway with the highest number of speeding drivers last year was the M62. There were 6,232 fines issued to drivers on the motorway, compared with 3,968 on the M1 and 2,744 on the M606.

Chief Insp Mark Bownass, who oversees West Yorkshire Police’s Roads Policing Unit, said: “People speeding need to think about what their actions could cause in the future – taking someone away from their family. The cameras are not there to capture those that are law-abiding. They’re not there to make money. They’re there for safety.”

South Yorkshire Police recorded 11,665 speeding offences over the three years on the M1, A1(M), M18, and M180.

Across 2015, the camera recording the highest number of incidents was on the M1 northbound between junction 34 for Meadowhall and 35 for Sheffield and Rotherham – with 950 fines, a third of the 2,902 total.

In 2016, 1,642 of the 2,968 offences were on again on the M1 northbound, but between junction 32 for Rotherham and the M18 interchange, and junction 33 for Sheffield centre.

Last year 36 per cent of the total of 5,795 speeding 
offences were recorded on the M1 
southbound between junction 31 for Sheffield and Worksop, and 30 for Chesterfield and Sheffield south.

Roads policing Inspector Craig Clifton said the introduction of smart motorways had increased the number of cameras monitoring speed limits, leading to a rise in recorded speeding offences.

He said: “As well as enforcement activity we also tackle speeding through targeted and educational activity on routes in identified hotspot areas.

“Regular high-visibility patrols are also carried out by specially trained speed detection officers during times of the day when there is an increase in traffic flow.”

Humberside Police issued 15,016 fines for motorists speeding on the M62, M18, M180 and M161. The number fell from 6,340 in 2015/16 to 4,235 last year.

Chief Superintendent Darren Wildbore said the force “actively manages” its resources to target the areas of the road network that see a large number of collisions, “reducing the risk of future collisions”.

Brake’s director of campaigns Joshua Harris said: “Selfish, speeding drivers put not only themselves, but all other road users, at serious risk, and it is concerning to see so many drivers caught disregarding speed limits on roads across Yorkshire.

“At Brake, we see every day the devastating impact road crashes caused by speeding have on families and communities across the country.

“Brake supports an increased use of fines and penalty points for drivers caught speeding. We also call on the Government to invest in road traffic policing to provide the police with the resources they need to ensure there is a true deterrent to dangerous driving on our roads.”

A Government spokesperson said: “Speed cameras play an important role in keeping the country’s roads safe and these figures clearly show that drivers who break the law are paying the price.” 59,135 - the amount of speeding fines issued to drivers on Yorkshire’s motorways from 2015/16 to 2017/18

A different challenge

North Yorkshire Police this month launched a high profile speeding campaign - but find its speeding issues mainly centred on its A and B roads.

It has no fixed speed cameras on the parts of A1M and small section of the M62 that run through North Yorkshire, and so did not provide any figures for the Yorkshire Post investigation.

However, a spokesman for the force said the A1M is among its top five routes for the number of fatal and serious injury collisions, and therefore it deploys mobile cameras along the route. It also had temporary average speed cameras in operation throughout the two phases of the A1 upgrade on sections of the road between Dishforth, Leeming and Barton.

Five years ago, North Yorkshire Police launched its traffic bureau, which has three safety camera vans, deployed on A and B roads across the county.

“That year, there were 2,026 collisions in North Yorkshire,” a force spokesman said. “Since then, nine further safety camera vans and a camera bike have been added to the fleet. In 2017, we recorded 1,844 collisions – a drop of almost 10 per cent.”

Last year there were 398 fatal and serious injury collisions in North Yorkshire.

“A lot of factors go into deciding where we deploy mobile safety cameras every week,” the spokesman said. “This includes the weather, the seasonal variations in road use, events in the area, seasonal variations on collision levels on particular roads and the number of fatal and serious injury collisions overall. “

Some of the high speeds recorded on North Yorkshire roads include 130mph by a car on a 70mph-limit road in York; 123mph also by a car on a 70mph road in York; 121mph by a bike on a 60mph-limit road in Ryedale and 70mph on a 30mph-limit road in Craven.

“Contrary to what some people think, revenue generation isn’t one of the factors we ever consider,” the spokesman added. “Unlike fixed speed camera, our mobile safety cameras help us target poor driving – i.e. mobile phone use, crossing solid white lines, and dangerous driving. That’s why we call them ‘safety cameras’ and not ‘speed cameras.”

Where does the money go?

Fines for speeding on Yorkshire’s motorways will have brought in around £6m into the Government’s bank account.

Any money raised by speeding fines - paid directly or after a court hearing - ends up in the Government’s Consolidated Fund.

That fund - a bank account held at the Bank of England - is used for general public expenditure.

While it’s impossible to know exactly how much money was raised by speeding drivers in Yorkshire, as some will have been handed a bigger fine by the courts, the minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine. So across 2015/16 to 2017/18 - at least £5.95m will have been raised.

Speeding drivers also have at least three penalty points added to their licence - and could face up to six. Drivers caught speeding within two years of taking their tests can have their licence revoked in they build up six or more penalty points.

A Treasury spokesman said: “Speeding fines and penalty receipts are paid into the Consolidated Fund which is regarded as central Government’s current account and used towards general Government expenditure, rather than ring-fenced for specific spending.”