Suffolk: Drivers fined for doing hair at the wheel, reversing on a dual carriageway and driving onto roundabout
- Credit: PA
Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner said last night the number of motorists caught speeding in the county is likely to fall this year – despite new figures showing an annual rise.
More than 40,000 speeding tickets were given out in 2013/14 – up by more than 2,000 on the previous year.
Around half of those were handed out by Suffolk police in 30mph zones, compared to just nine in 60mph areas.
But there were also fines for:
• Doing hair in mirror, not wearing seatbelt, driving too close to vehicle in front and speeding
• Map spread across steering wheel
• Reading letter while driving
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• Rolling a cigarette
• Using iPod while driving
• Reversing on dual carriageway
• Overtook police vehicle during rolling road block
• Excess speed and failed to stop at police check
• Drove across two lanes forcing police vehicle onto grass
• Driving around roundabout in wrong direction
• Driving on wrong side of road
• Wheel spins, handbrake turns and other careless manoeuvres
• Overtook in 30mph limit
• Approached roundabout too fast, drove onto roundabout and vehicle got stuck
• Contravened ‘No Entry’ sign driving wrong way against one way traffic
Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore said the number of speeding fines issued reflected their enforcement strategy of targeting residential areas where most accidents happen. and other accident blackspots will only be revealed next year after it came into effect last December.
He said officers were now increasingly carrying out speed checks in areas considered accident blackspots – a policy that came into effect in December.
“We have got to wait for a whole year to see the results, which I think will be very interesting to see. I hope to see a downward trend in speeding offences.
“There is no excuse for speeding. It is not acceptable and people need to drive responsibly. Speed limits are not there as a joke or because someone is being vindictive.
“There has been real concern about speeding in residential areas expressed at our public meetings.
“The 30mph zones in residential areas are there for a very good reason; for the personal safety of drivers, the safety of other motorists and cyclists and the well-being of the town or village.”
Broken down, the figures, released by Suffolk Constabulary under Freedom of Information laws, showed 40,202 fixed penalty notices for speeding were issued in 2013/14. That is a rise from 38,098 in 2012/13, but significantly lower than the 47,009 in 2010/11.
It showed 20,818 – more than half – were given for speeding offences in 30mph zones. Around 3,500 were issued in 40mph and 50mph areas, and 9,728 were handed out in 70mph zones. But only nine were recorded in 60mph single carriageways.
Mr Passmore added: “Nine is a low number but there has not been a big public outcry that we need to enforce it.
“I don’t want people to get the impression it does not matter, because it does. We will listen to any concerns and if there are bad accidents in particularly dangerous areas then we could step up enforcement, but people will have to tell us.”
There are two fixed speed cameras in Suffolk – cut by police from five in 2012 – on the A12 at Benhall and the A140 at Coddenham, and four mobile speed cameras.
Meanwhile the research found more than half – 20,375 out of 40,202 – of speeding tickets were resolved by motorists completing a retraining course. It found 1,274 were cancelled, 14,546 were paid and 2,667 were prosecuted.
A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said enforcement campaigns and education aimed at young drivers helps drive down the figures.
She said: “In 2013, 25 people died on Suffolk’s roads, and so far this year 19 people have died. The role speed plays in both fatal and serious road traffic collisions cannot be underestimated.
“Locations that officers or mobile cameras are deployed to are either where people have complained about speeding motorists – generally rural 30mph zones – or those areas which are prone to collisions taking place.”
Paul Watters, head of roads and transport policy at the AA, praised the work of Suffolk Constabulary in tackling speeding motorists.
He said: “Even with the pressures on police budgets, they are still devoting time to traffic concerns.”