‘Speed marathon’ returns in 2018

10.32 | 16 January 2018 | | 10 comments

Police forces across Europe will take part in a 24-hour ‘speed marathon’ in April, which has become the focal point of TISPOL’s annual week-long speed enforcement campaign.

Part-financed by the European Commission, TISPOL is the European Traffic Police Network – established by traffic police forces across Europe to improve road safety and law enforcement.

The speed marathon on 18 April is one of a number of initiatives which feature on TISPOL’s 2018 events calendar.

Project EDWARD will return on 19 September and will this year form part of TISPOL’s new ‘Focus on the Roads Operation’ (17-21 September) which is designed to intensify efforts to minimise driver distractions.

Another new initiative is Operation Safe Holiday (1 July-31 August), designed to promote safer roads, vehicles and drivers during the summer holiday season. Participating countries include Spain, Bulgaria, Germany, Serbia, Luxembourg, Cyprus and the UK.

During the 2016 speed marathon, 2,463,622 vehicle speeds were checked across 12,706 control points in 22 countries.

A total of 122,508 offences were detected, meaning that 95% of drivers observed by police officers during the 24 hours were using legal speeds.

For the 2017 speed marathon (data not available), TISPOL encouraged participating police forces to publish in advance information about the precise locations of speed checkpoints.


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    Charles, when engaged in face-to-face speed enforcement it is relatively easy to weed out the decent members of society who strayed over the limit as they usually exceed the limits by relatively small margins. They will go on their way with a friendly verbal warning about their driving. Those with a more serious disregard for the law in general, and traffic law in particular, tend to drive faster and therefore they are the ones who get prosecuted. Of course, this is just my opinion.

    David, Suffolk
    Agree (4) | Disagree (4)

    Once again the police will be seen to enforce the laws of the land. Those laws that are designed not to hinder anyone’s principals of freedom but to stop or at least help prevent actions. Actions that they would wrongly as an individual tave the right to do exactly what they want and with no understanding of the responsibility that comes from that freedom. That by their actions they are acting anti socially without responsibility and that their actions are to the detriment of all others. That their actions are creating danger, fear, frustration, annoyance and anger etc.

    What does it for me is that as I have said before a few speeding vehicles are actually responsible for a few incidents, collision etc. and whilst its right that efforts should be put into this intervention like the 20 is plenty scheme it will only effect less than 5% of incidents/collisions in residential areas and not touch the 95% plus of such a happenings on major or arterial streets and roads. Whilst they are catching the few the majority of law breakers who are responsible by far for the majority of such incidents, collisions are allowed to continue to drive closely following each other around like blind sheep.

    Many more drivers drive far too close to other vehicles rather than speed and that effects all road users. They do this without any regard to the danger that they put themselves and others in. Its about time something was done about this matter as I have said for several years now. We are losing an opportunity to make our road safer. It’s easy to set up control units on the streets/roads and prosecute drivers that fail to give safe stopping distances.

    bob craven
    Agree (8) | Disagree (1)

    David, thank-you for your opinions, but they are just that – your personal opinions, and using words such as “bleat” to characterise the opinions of others are not helpful. In *my* opinion, your opinions are yet again more fallacious arguments being given as excuses in support of the police enforcing speed limits.
    Sure, there is a criminal element that will flout other laws, but that some of them can also be intercepted during the enforcement of another ill-conceived law that is relatively easy to enforce, does not justify the creation of that ill-conceived law. All laws should be judged by their impact on the problem that they were purportedly created to tackle, and as we know, there is no incontrovertible evidence that any specific speed limits have been responsible for any significant KSI reduction, so the enforcement of them is moot.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it is not just those who “disregard rules about speed” who get caught up during these enforcement exercises, it is also those *normal* generally law abiding human beings who, for whatever reason, are not deliberately, or even consciously breaking the speed limit. We’ve all done it, and we will all continue to do it until automation takes over. That is not a reflection of what bad people we all are, quite the contrary, it is a reflection of what a bad law it is, as it can result in the penalising of very normal and totally expected human behaviour in this way.

    So we see, speeding is not “indefensible”, it is expected and predictable. On the other hand, a road safety model that cannot tolerate normal, predictable and totally expected and natural human behaviour certainly *is* indefensible.

    It is time to realise that there are other measures that *can* deliver significant and sustainable reductions in KSIs without criminalising the people that they are designed to protect. For that reason we should be using valuable police time where it can be effective and not wasting it on exercises such as this where it definitely cannot.

    Charles, England
    Agree (7) | Disagree (11)

    Following on from David’s well-observed comment and my earlier one, is that those who do speed, tend not to limit their disregard of traffic laws to speed limits – it’s usually across the board which means their safety and that of others on the road is always going to be severely compromised. Catch a speeder and you’ve caught a collision-maker.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (7) | Disagree (7)

    Yet again I find people who are willing to bleat about the Police enforcing speed limits. It is a fact that those who disregard rules about speed tend to have an unhealthy disregard for other aspects of the law. Having spent many years stopping drivers for being above the limit, I know just how many of them will tend to be those who are over the prescribed drink/drive limit, how many of them will be in possession of illegal drugs, how many will have no insurance, be in possession of stolen property, etc.

    It is a basic truth that Roads Police arrest more people for crimes unrelated to driving than their colleagues in the CID. The background level in society in general of those who have a Criminal Record is 8%: when we look at people who are involved in a fatal crash it is the case that 21% of car drivers, 30% of pedestrians, 35% of van drivers, and 41% of LGV drivers have a conviction for crime. So there is a provable link between a tendency to commit crimes and have less than optimal behaviour on the roads. Speeding is less than optimal behaviour, so please do not try to defend the indefensible. The Police are quite right to prosecute, and even persecute, those who choose to speed. It always was, and still is, an excellent and productive use of their valuable time.

    If you do not wish to have points on your licence, then use the speedometer of your vehicle as a handy clue to tell you when you are going over the limit, and adjust your speed accordingly.

    David, Suffolk
    Agree (11) | Disagree (7)

    Hugh, do you know, or believe that there exists, a single active driver who has *never* broken a speed limit?

    Given that currently almost all drivers are human, then if enforcement technology reached the point that each speeding offence was unfailingly detected, we would have the situation where every single active driver in the country would have accumulated 12 points on their licence within days, if not hours, of switching that technology on. It is simply *not* possible for human drivers to, unaided by automation, comply 100% with speed limits. And even if we simultaneously implemented automatic speed limit compliance technology in all vehicles, it is doubtful whether we would see much impact on KSI figures, and if we did it is not certain that they would fall rather than rise.

    That realisation alone should be enough to convince us that we need to devote our valuable resources to designing measures that *will* deliver appropriate traffic speeds on our roads and not waste them on exercises like this that definitely cannot.

    Charles, England
    Agree (9) | Disagree (4)

    Some drivers like to speed for the thrill of it Charles and/or to get somewhere quicker, so in that sense they are enriching themselves at the expense of others (the ones they hurt).

    I’ve found speeders to be generally incompetent and lacking even basic understanding of car control and dynamics so for me they have to remain the number one target for enforcement.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (6) | Disagree (7)

    Speeding is the easiest offence which the police can enforce and that’s what makes it the number one crime of all things road safety. I could argue that it is not but that following on distances not being safely maintained are even more frequent than speeding drivers. About one in 20 could be speeders but one can easily see that about 3 out of 10 drivers are following to close and are therefore tailgating.

    I believe that its already been statistically established that incidents of vehicles using speeds in excess of the NSL. account for only some 6% of all incidents so actually speeding over the limit per say is not therefore a primary prime cause of many incidents

    That said it could be that inappropriate speeds that are perhaps well below the NSL are responsible for more incidents and that could be further increased by inappropriate safe space as well. Both a lack of appropriate safe space or independently one of inappropriate speed could be the main causation.

    What it does do is give the police something to do and an accountability even though its only momentarily.

    bob craven
    Agree (6) | Disagree (1)

    Attempting to use criminal law to make our roads safe, and particularly using the police to act as road safety marshals like this, has always seemed illogical, futile, and overly authoritarian and unrealistic to me.

    It might be a good idea to try that if it was wanton criminals who were on a deliberate mission to harm people or to enrich themselves at the expense of others that we were talking about. But that clearly isn’t the case when we are dealing with road safety.

    Firstly, the laws that are being used are not necessarily science- or evidence-based, and there is no common consensus that the things that they are attempting to enforce will have a positive effect on road safety – and many may even have a negative effect.

    Secondly those road users that we are so egregiously targeting here are generally *normal* and generally law-abiding people who, for whatever reason – but usually within the bounds of *normal* human behaviour – are not able to concentrate 100% of the time or unfailingly spot, read and understand (no matter what the weather and prevailing conditions) every single sign, control, line, signal and line that we can throw at them and religiously obey them regardless of how realistic their orders are.

    With over a century of failure to eliminate KSIs using the criminal law based model it is probably time to review what we are trying to achieve here, and to perhaps start designing a system that might work.

    Charles, England
    Agree (11) | Disagree (7)

    Considering it’s the biggest problem on our roads, it’s a pity they can only manage one week per year.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (5) | Disagree (9)

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