Speeding down since penalties toughened – but Suffolk cameras still catch 16,000

Speed camera on the A140 southbound, near the junction for Coddenham Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Speed camera on the A140 southbound, near the junction for Coddenham Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Tougher punishment for speeding may be helping to cut offences in Suffolk, new research has suggested.

The number of motorists caught by the county’s fixed speed cameras fell almost 20% after harsher fines came in last spring.

Despite a reduction in speeding across Suffolk, according to year-on-year figures, police warned too many drivers were continuing to flout the law and put lives at risk.

Financial comparison website GoCompare asked forces around the country for speeding figures to see if driver attitudes had changed since speeding motorists faced tougher penalties, with fines for serious breaches starting at 150% of weekly income.

Of 16 forces to supply data, Suffolk saw the fourth biggest decline between May 2017 and May 2018, with offences falling from 19,935 to 16,363.

The total was still too many for acting inspector Ben Hollands, of the roads and armed policing team, who has seen the impact of deadly collisions caused by speed – one of the ‘fatal four’ offences leading to people being killed or seriously injured, along with drink-driving, using a mobile phone and not wearing a seatbelt.

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“Unfortunately, I’ve seen lives broken and families bereaved by accidents caused as a result of excessive speed,” said acting inspector Hollands.

“Speed reduces reaction time and has an impact on the level of injury caused in a collision.

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“There needs to be a change in culture to make speeding as unacceptable as drink-driving or using a mobile phone.

“We have enforcement tools at our disposal, but it’s also about education.”

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore added: “It’s encouraging to see speeding down – particularly with traffic levels up on last year – but there are still too many doing it.

“Maybe the message is starting to get through that speed limits are there to be observed but there remains a minority of grossly irresponsible drivers who need a stronger message.”

GoCompare found April the worst month for speeding in Suffolk, with 2,000 offences compared to 520 recorded in December – the fewest of any month in the last year.

The most active speed camera was on the A12 between East Bergholt and Stratford St Mary – catching 2,322 drivers over the 70mph limit – including one travelling at 124mph.

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