RAC Foundation: Patchwork approach to detection and punishment of speeding

New analysis for the RAC Foundation has revealed large differences between the 43 police constabularies of England and Wales in the way they enforce speed limits and dispose of speeding cases.

The work – carried out by Dr Adam Snow of Liverpool John Moores University, and funded jointly by the Foundation and the Daily Mail – is based on Home Office data.

The analysis shows that in 2016, the various constabularies detected 2.2 million speeding offences between them, 85% of which were recorded by camera. However, the data also reveals that, while Avon and Somerset constabulary detected 184,654 speeding offences, neighbouring Wiltshire detected just 989.

There were also large variations in the way offenders were punished. In Nottinghamshire, for example, just 1% of offenders were sent on a speed awareness course. In Durham, the proportion was 62%.

Dr Snow has recently written a more general paper on automatic enforcement of motoring law for the RAC Foundation.

The findings are liable to leave many motorists perplexed and asking why – even allowing for local differences in road length and type, traffic volume and population – there are such huge variations in approaches to speeding. Whether you believe there is too much focus on speeding drivers, or too little, there will be something in the data to support your point of view.

The analysis will leave many Police and Crime Commissioners needing to ask some pertinent questions, not only about the rationale for these variations, but also for evidence showing what relationship link there is between the level of enforcement and the level of road casualties, for if roads policing has any goal it must be to cut death and injury.

P.S. While the Budget headlines were all about what the Chancellor was doing to get first-time buyers on to the housing ladder, drivers should not be disappointed to have read little about what Mr Hammond had in store for them.

For this was a case of no news is (generally) good news. Fuel duty remained frozen – as it has done since March 2011 – while there was extra investment for electric vehicle infrastructure.

The promise to make diesel drivers pay for the new Clean Air Fund proved only to apply to buyers of new diesels – VED ratings for new vehicles will change, increasing the amount paid in so-called showroom tax – rather than the 12 million or so owners of diesel cars already on the road.

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