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Speeding offences rise but postcode lottery remains

The number of drivers caught speeding in England and Wales rose 4% in 2017-18, with drivers still facing much higher chances of being caught under some police forces than others.

The number of drivers caught for speeding offences rose 4% in 2017/18

Analysis of Home Office figures by the RAC Foundation showed that a total of 2,292,536 speeding offences were detected across England and Wales in 2017-18, up 3.6% on the 2,213,257 figure for the previous year (2016-17).

However, the number of drivers being detected for speeding is more than 160 times higher in some parts of England and Wales than others.

The police constabularies with the most speeding offences detected:

Police force Speeding offences detected in 2017-18 Percentage change on 2016-17
Avon and Somerset 199,337 8%
West Yorkshire 174,796 42%
Met (including City of London) 139,318 58%
Thames Valley 131,401 -5%
Greater Manchester 101,421 -16%


The police constabularies with the fewest speeding offences detected:

Police force Speeding offences detected in 2017-18 Percentage change on 2016-17
Wiltshire 1,191 20%
Durham 8,802 18%
Derbyshire 10,480 3%
Cleveland 11,308 -16%
Kent 18,878 3%

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “There will be many varied and obvious reasons to explain some of the differences between forces such as geographical area, road type and traffic volume. But a lot of it will come down to the local policing priorities.

“It is the job of Police and Crime Commissioners, and Chief Constables, to target resources appropriately, recognising the issues of greatest local concern.

“Changes and variations in the numbers of offences detected will reflect not just driver behaviour but also the extent of enforcement activity in any one year.

“Drivers tempted to flout the law should recognise that any targeted crackdown on speeding to curtail risky behaviour could swiftly be repeated if those reckless attitudes start to re-emerge.”

The figures for speeding offences also show:

44% resulted in the offender being sent on a speed awareness course

34% attracted fixed penalty notices (FPN)

11% were later cancelled

10% resulted in court action

(Percentages don’t quite add up to 100 because of rounding.)

The research comes a week after the European Parliament reached a provisional deal on making Intelligent Speed Assistance, as well as other technologies, mandatory on new vehicle models sold in the EU from 2022. The plans have been greeted as bringing significant improvements for road safety, but experts have said consumer education and confidence is key.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.