West Yorkshire drivers committed nearly the highest number of UK speeding offences in 2020
New figures reveal that drivers in the West Yorkshire Police region committed nearly the highest number of speeding offences in the UK last year.
More than two million drivers were caught speeding in 2020 in the UK - and over eight per cent of those were in the West Yorkshire Police region.
The force recorded 181,633 speeding offences throughout the year, which was the second highest area for speeding by police force in 2020.
The Met Police reported the highest number of speeding offences with more than 254,000 drivers caught.
Greater Manchester Police followed West Yorkshire Police as third with 179,142 offences, and this was followed by Avon and Somerset Police with 103,723 and Kent County Police with 88,763 offences.
Despite the stay at home advice for most of the year, the UK 2020 figure is equivalent to more than 6,000 speeding offences recorded per day on average - a 10 per cent drop compared to 2019.
The number of people caught speeding dropped significantly in April 2020 following the announcement of lockdown, to 84,452 motorists caught travelling above the speed limit.
This almost doubled in May to 165,609 when restrictions started to ease, peaking in July at 225,297 with restrictions eased further.
Figures are according to FOI data about UK police forces obtained by Confused.com in 2020 - which also revealed that UK drivers paid out at least £200 million in fines last year.
The data showed that two UK police forces caught drivers speeding at 163mph on the motorway in 2020 - one recorded by the Met Police on the M1 and another by Humberside Police on the M62.
Confused.com research shows nearly four in five, 79 per cent, of drivers admit to breaking the speed limit in the past, while 54 per cent claim they didn’t realise they were doing it.
The research also showed that 30 per cent of motorists think it's fine to speed in an emergency, and 12 per cent think the same if there aren't any other cars on the road.
If a driver is caught speeding, they receive a minimum £100 fine but in some cases this could be more.
A change in the law in 2017 means that drivers caught speeding could have to pay up to 175 per cent of their weekly salary in fines, depending on the extent of the offence.
Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, said: “It’s worrying to think that many people took advantage of quieter roads during lockdown to ramp up the speed.
"Speed limits are in place for a reason – to keep road users and pedestrians safe.
“If you’re caught speeding, you could be paying out up to 175 per cent of your weekly income – this could be up to £1,000 for some drivers, or £2,500 on a motorway.
"But it is confusing to work out the penalty with the rules changing depending on the severity of the offence.
"Our speeding calculator will show just how much you could potentially be forking out, even for going a few miles an hour over the limit. Stick to the limit and avoid a hefty fine.”
Unit Manager for the Central Prosecution and Casualty Prevention Partnership at West Yorkshire Police, Lillian MacFarlane, said: “Road safety remains one of our top priorities for the Force and we have more dedicated roads policing officers working on the roads of West Yorkshire to prevent the devastation that speeding can cause
“West Yorkshire Police, the five Local Authorities, Highways England and other stakeholders also work together within the West Yorkshire Casualty Prevention Partnership to improve road safety across our Force area.
“ During the first lockdown in 2020 even though traffic was down 70%, we saw an increase in the number of people taking advantage of the quiet roads to speed.
“Wherever possible we aim to encourage road users to understand how they can reduce risk on the roads of West Yorkshire using a range of education and training activities, including driver offender retraining courses to improve driver behaviour, while officers retain the option to pursue prosecution in instances of more significant or repeated offending.
“Working together, the partnership aims to make our roads safer and crackdown on dangerous driving, including the ‘fatal four’ offences - of which speeding is one.
“We are committed to reducing speeding on West Yorkshire’s roads and one of way of doing this is through the use of speed enforcement cameras at locations identified as having a high risk of speed related collisions.”