Regional disparity in number of drivers caught speeding

The number of drivers caught speeding is more than 160 times higher in some parts of England and Wales than others, a study has found.

Research commissioned by the RAC Foundation revealed the police force to detect the most speeding offences in 2017/18 was Avon and Somerset – with nearly 200,000.

Neighbouring Wiltshire recorded the fewest at just 1,191.

Police forces with the most and fewest speeders detected
Police forces with the most and fewest speeders detected

Other forces in the top five for catching drivers breaking the speed limit are West Yorkshire, Metropolitan Police, Thames Valley and Greater Manchester.

The ranking was based on analysis of Home Office data by Dr Adam Snow, a lecturer in criminal law at Liverpool John Moores University.

He found that 2,292,536 speeding offences were detected across England and Wales in 2017/18, up 4% compared with the previous 12 months.

This means an average of four drivers were caught every minute.

In 44% of cases, the offender was sent on a speed awareness course, while 34% attracted fixed penalty notices.

Some 11% of offences were cancelled and 10% resulted in court action.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said factors such as geographical area, road type and traffic volume explain some of the difference figures recorded by forces, but “a lot of it will come down to the local policing priorities”.

He went on: “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.”

Department for Transport (DfT) figures show that 220 people were killed and a further 1,493 were seriously injured in crashes on Britain’s roads in 2017 in which a vehicle exceeding the speed limit was a contributory factor.

It emerged last week that new cars sold in the UK from 2022 are set to have devices fitted which stop them breaking the speed limit.

The DfT said new EU rules that have been provisionally agreed would apply to the UK despite Brexit.

– Here are the five police constabularies with the most speeding offences detected in 2017/18:

1. Avon and Somerset 199,337
2. West Yorkshire 174,796
3. Metropolitan Police (including City of London) 139,318
4. Thames Valley 131,401
5. Greater Manchester 101,421

– Here are the five police constabularies with the fewest speeding offences detected in 2017/18:

1. Wiltshire 1,191
2. Durham 8,802
3. Derbyshire 10,480
4. Cleveland 11,308
5. Kent 18,878