Road Safety News

Speeding offences rise to six year high

Monday 27th November 2017

New Government figures show that there were more than 2.1m prosecutions for speed limit offences in 2016, the highest number since 2011.

Published by the DfT on 23 November, the 2,153,000 speeding prosecutions in 2016 represents a year-on-year increase of 1.3% and is more than 30% higher than in 2011 - when there were 1.6m prosecutions for speed limit offences.

IAM RoadSmart says the figures show that speeding is ‘still far from being socially unacceptable’, while Brake describes them as ‘highly concerning’.

The total number of prosecutions for motor vehicle offences also rose slightly in 2016 - up 0.3% to 3,059,000. This means that speeding was responsible for 70% of the total prosecutions.

However, the number prosecutions for ‘dangerous, careless or drunken driving’ fell by 6% to 179,000.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Unfortunately these figures show that we still have a long way to go to make speeding as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving.

“Resources are still needed for education and publicity campaigns to drive home the message that road safety is as much about taking personal responsibility as it is about new methods of enforcement.”

Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, said: "These figures are highly concerning and show that exceeding the speed limit remains a major safety issue.

"Driving is unpredictable and if something unexpected happens on the road ahead, such as a child stepping out from between parked cars, it's a driver’s speed that determines whether they can stop in time and, if they can’t, how hard they will hit.”

Prosecution figures from the years before 2011 cannot be directly compared to the figures since.

Figures from 2011 onwards have been revised due to fixed penalty notices now including where the offender attended a driver retraining course or was summoned to face court action.

Previous published tables included fixed penalty notices which only resulted in a financial penalty and/ or points on a license.

Category: Speed.



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Some are now talking about intelligent speed assistance systems. Systems that apparently will dramatically reduce the number of collisions. However it's one thing stopping drivers from speeding but it's quite another preventing them from being involved in collisions. No matter what the speed limit is the majority of motorists will stay within that limit and that's where the vast majority of incidents and collisions occur and all at speeds under the limit. That may be so in towns and villages but it's also on country roads and arterial ones where the speed limit is 60 mph. If one puts that into the computer then it's not likely that one will exceed that limit but that doesn't mean that travelling at say 40 mph would be safe. So the argument that by fitting such a device this initiative will reduce many a collision is fataly flawed.

Add to that as said they can be switched off and I presume that on arterial and country roads that may be in order to overtake another vehicle. Something which in general would mean that the driver/rider exceeds the legal speed and cannot be slowed by the device being actuated. Such incidents and collisions due to overtakimg will still occur. What we actually need is to look at the training that we give and to train our drivers and riders more on the discipline that overtakes cannot be entered into where it would necessitate exceeding the legal speed limit and a training regime that does not encourage unneccessary and inapropriate overtakes that will require one to break the law.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

Not much will change if drivers can easily turn off their ISA or other road safety devices such as AEB etc. or meddle with it to get unrealistic results. Results that end up with collisions and subsequent casualties. We are far away from any utopina dream of nil by road and will be for many decades yet.
m.worthington Manchester

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

It's what ISA will do for road users that matters, Guzzi. The quicker we start to change the fleet, the more lives will be saved. The fleet will change but it would change all the quicker if the government would face up to its responsibility to take a lead. TfL has made a start, albeit with buses.

This might help anyone still in the dark about top speed control:
Andrew Fraser STIRLING

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

We fully agree - it's so unfair. Our members are being persecuted for innocently breaking the law, doing no harm to anyone (apart from occasionally in the thousands to themselves, their passengers, other drivers and riders, pedestrians cyclists and animals) and yet the authorities have the audacity to do something about it. What is the world coming to? All our members are self-proclaimed expert drivers (and you can't argue with that), are always on full alert, observing the road ahead and the fact that that they don't see all the warning signs, speed limit signs, speed cameras and police cars is clearly not their fault - how are you supposed to look at the road AND send a text? The two million prosecutions referred to are probably just isolated cases.

We have been saying for years that the authorities should be concentrating on educating drivers and not prosecution - unfortunately the authorities pulled the rug from under our feet by actually doing that and set up speed awareness courses - naturally we didn't like that, so we had to find some aspect of it to winge about which we are currently working on and hope to commission a biased, un-informed report about it in the near future, if only we could find someone who actually takes us seriously.

Yours, forever in denial, The Association of Deluded and Speeding Motorists
The Association of Deluded and Speeding Motorists

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The report says speeding is responsible for 70% of prosecutions. This is because it is easy to prosecute speeding, the whole thing is automated. Other more serious crimes are let off with a caution because it involves more work to prosecute. In 2012 the police issued 205,700 cautions for robbery, shoplifting, sex & violent crimes, drug trafficking etc. In the same period all drivers caught by speed cameras were prosecuted, hence cautions --- Nil !

Perhaps if the police devised some form of ‘awareness course’ for these non-related offences, it might lead to more prosecutions! However that would mean more work for the police. Speeding motorists are being treated unfairly as compared with other offenders just because it is easy to prosecute them. That is fundamentally unfair.
Robert Bolt, St Albans

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)

To assist you, Nick, I would suggest looking at the theory of the FTP method first, before examining real data.

For the theory in brief, try Professor Maher's London paper and view Figure 2. The paragraph above and below help to explain.

Then look at Figure 8.1 in my mobile report. If the theory of the FTP method is understood, then the reason why there are 4 quite obvious time periods becomes clear. Before my report, it had been thought that RTM was such a mysterious effect that it could not be proved. In Figure 8.1 though we can actually see RTM clear as day, and it's huge!
dave finney

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I was indeed referring to the evidence for cameras causing more KSI casualties. However I will look at your research Dave with an open mind.

My unscientific logic would lead me to expect that at fixed speed camera sites the casualty averages would go up if the above statement were true. If a fixed camera is put in and then casualties regress to the mean my logic would lead me to think they had no effect. However as I said I will read the research carefully and with an open mind.
Nick, Lancashire

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Dave: I think Nick was talking about the evidence as referred to in your statement "There is evidence, though, that speed cameras are causing more people to be killed or seriously injured. Furthermore, that evidence is independent and more accurate than official analysis".

Does that evidence actually exist, or is it a 'state of mind' type evidence as you like to call it?

Seeing as you've mentioned, again, your report (and I think I've asked you this before) - have you since been able to work out yet how many collisions have been prevented by speed enforcement cameras? i.e. as a deterrent (on-the-spot speed reductions); improved driving attitudes following speed awareness courses; removal from the roads for a period, of speeders, through prosecutions? I don't recall your report considering any of that and can't therefore be regarded as a valid or comprehensive assessment.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Yes of course Nick. The authorities have been unable to remove selection effects (RTM) from their results with many claiming that it was impossible to do. I applied myself to this problem and developed the FTP method. I then applied this to speed camera site data in Thames Valley.

The report on mobile speed cameras was a world first. It was the first time anyone had completely removed RTM from results at any road safety intervention site anywhere. Then Professor Mike Maher used the FTP method to assess fixed and mobile speed camera sites all across Wales. He also assessed all the fixed speed cameras sites throughout London.

The above four are the only reports that have completely removed selection effects (RTM) from their results that I know of. There are other reports that have attempted to use the FTP method, but have not used the method to it's full accuracy.

I really worked hard to achieve this breakthrough in road safety analysis. It's now up to those in authority to make use of or ignore the clarity I have helped to provide.
dave finney

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Dave - can you point us to the evidence to which you refer please?
Nick, Lancashire

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Evidence a state of mind? That's a new one on me Dave - still, it would explain why you still believe speed cameras cause road deaths and injuries - drivers do that, not inanimate objects.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Yes, Hugh, I would if there were any evidence for that. There is evidence, though, that speed cameras are causing more people to be killed or seriously injured. Furthermore, that evidence is independent and more accurate than official analysis.

"evidence" is not simply looking at numbers and picking those that support an opinion, evidence is a state of mind (or even a philosophy). The evidence for most things is in the data but, to find it, you have to first remove any preconceived opinions from your mind. That is difficult enough to do at the best of times, but seems rare in politics and absent from road safety.

We can have policies based on "opinion" or based on "evidence". What I object to is the authorities using the former, but pretending it's the latter.
dave finney

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The first question I ask is just how many of these prosecutions come from police intervention or automatically through use of camera. I think there was an article on this a litle time ago and by far the vast majority were by automatic methods and not by police interventions. So the second question is at what speeds were they reported for. Under ACPO recommendations there is a 10% plus 2 mph allowance which equates to between 10 to 15% increase in shown speeds. It does mention that that is acted upon at the descretian of the individual police officer at the time. However I don't think that descretion is used with automatic methods where a driver doing 34/5 mph would or could be reported by camera but may not by a police officer. The mere fact that drivers are very much aware of ACPO statement means that they may drive over the limit on the understanding that they are being allowed to do so or at least they are less likely to be reported for those speeds that are within those perameters.

Finally if you look at any picture of vehicles on motorways one must admit that where traffic is moving freely all the vehicles in the outside lane will be speeding and the majority in the middle lane also. That and the majority will also be failing to leave a safe stopping distance as well.
Bob Craven Lancs

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I note you haven't asked the same question about the 179,000 'dangerous, careless or drink-drive prosecutions' also mentioned in the article Dave - any concerns about those? Do you require the authorities to come up with some justification and proof for those and also 'evidence' that they have saved lives or bizarrely - according to you - have not resulted in more deaths?

ps read the last para above from Brake's director on why speeders need to be restrained, deterred and ultimately prosecuted - his example scenario is obviously one of many.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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2.1 million prosecutions and still the authorities haven't proved whether that enormous cost is saving lives, or resulting in more deaths. Am I the only one asking why the authorities refuse to obtain that proof, especially when it would be so cheap and easy to do? Maybe they feel they have 2.1 million reasons not to run scientific trials?
dave finney

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I probably had in mind non-wheeled observers when I said the majority think speeding is anti-social David i.e. residents, pedestrians etc. and I agree that if and when those same people are in a vehicle themselves, their own speeds are not that far removed from the speeds they would otherwise deem anti-social and annoying. Being inside a quiet insulated vehicle can give a false sense of speed and perhaps speeders should spend more time as non-insulated, passive road users.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Speeding is regarded as antisocial by the majority of drivers only when someone else is doing it. Most think that they are good enough to cope with going too quickly, for either the circumstances, or the legal limit.
David, Suffolk

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I'm not sure what Intelligent Speed Assistance will do for the 37.3 million vehicles already registered for use on the roads in Great Britain (2016 DVLA figures).
Guzzi, Newport

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Need I mention Intelligent Speed Assistance (yet again)? How many more have to be injured before govt gets off its ... etc., etc.?
Andrew Fraser STIRLING

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Referring to the IAM comment, I think the majority already regard speeding as socially unacceptable as drink driving, but still too many do both and will no doubt continue to do so until stopped, either by legal means or an immovable solid object such as a tree.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (7) | Disagree (13)

I like how it doesn't go into detail about where people were caught (urban, rural, motorway), and what limit was currently in force at that time.

Without this detail, we can only presume that it's the rather unfortunate introduction of HADECS installations that can enforce NSL that have brought about this increase.
David Weston, Corby

Agree (11) | Disagree (4)