Police in Dorset issued 45,344 speeding tickets last year – placing it in the top 10 forces in the UK.
Top officers have defended the figure after it was revealed that Dorset is tenth in a table of ‘most speeding tickets issued in 2017’, coming behind forces including Kent, Humberside, Norfolk and Dundee.
During the year, one motorist was stopped travelling 96 miles per hour in a 30mph stretch.
Sergeant Mark Farrow of Dorset Police’s No Excuses team said officers will always take speeding seriously.
“Excessive and inappropriate speed has been identified as one of the ‘fatal five’ offences – offences identified as being the main contributing factors in fatal road traffic conditions,” he said.
“A priority of Dorset Police is to reduce the number of people killed and seriously harmed on Dorset’s roads.
“The impact of these collisions is devastating to individuals, families and communities.”
Asked if drivers travelling in the county should be concerned about being criminalised, Sgt Farrow said: “All motorists have a responsibility to drive according to road traffic legislation.
“Motorists travelling within Dorset should do so in a careful and considerate manner, ensuring they obey the laws of the road. In doing so they will help make Dorset safer and will have no concerns over being ‘criminalised’.
“Individuals who wish to disregard driving standards, road signs, speed limits or drive while under the influence of drink or drugs can expect to be dealt with for doing so.
“Dorset Police’s No Excuse Team, road policing team and territorial policing officers patrol 24/7 and will deal with offenders who put the public at risk of harm.”
Money generated from motorists who attend driving courses after being caught speeding is used to provide free community safety education sessions in Dorset.
“Speed limits are set for several reasons, including the intention to improve road safety and reduce the number of road traffic casualties,” Sgt Farrow said.
“Those exceeding speed limits decrease the time that they have to react if an unforeseen incident were to occur and increase the potential for injury to themselves and other road users if involved in a collision.
“The impact of the resulting trauma to the driver, other road users, families, friends, those observing the collision, as well as the cost to the public purse in dealing with that collision could be substantially reduced by drivers adhering to the signed limits.”
From April last year, speeding drivers have faced stricter penalties and much higher fees based on their earnings. New rules came into effect in the UK in 2017 which means offenders can now be charged up to 175 per cent of their weekly income.
The system rates the severity of the offence based on speed limit.
A recent message from Martin Baker, Chair of Dorset Road Safe Tactical Group, stated that around 200 people are injured on our local roads each month. Across Dorset, road casualties cost the local economy around £160 million a year, of which at least £5 million directly impacts our NHS resources.
Statistics produced by the Department for Transport, in the Great Britain annual report for 2016, show that a total of 136,621 personal injury traffic accidents were reported to the Police. Of these reported accidents 1695 resulted in at least one fatality, an increase of 4% on 2015.
Fatalities by road user type in 2016:-
Car occupants 46%
In addition to the above the number of motorists found guilty in court of speeding rose sharply in the last 12 months. The number of convictions has risen by 28%, the highest increase since 2005.
Put this against a background where if you are caught speeding you will get three penalty points on your license and a fine which could be up to 150% of your weekly wage. The maximum fine is £1,000 for most roads, rising to £2,500 for excessive speeding on a motorway.
Penalty points on your license will also impact on insurance premiums.
Yet, and despite the above, the question most often addressed to Broadstone CSW members by motorists and others is ‘Why are you here?’.
The answer to that is Community Speed Watch was set up to enable communities themselves to contribute to:-
Reducing death and injury on the roads in their own community,
Improving the quality of life for road users and residents alike,
Increasing awareness of local speed limits,
Encouraging positive changes in driver behaviour.
Broadstone Community Speed Watch activities are not carried out so as to ‘interfere’ with drivers’ behaviour, but are a proactive approach to improving the safety and quality of life for all road users, and others living and working in and around our own community.
January 2018 is now upon us, and the Broadstone Community Speed Watch team would like to wish our Broadstone community a happy, prosperous and safe New Year!
Looking back on 2017, this was without doubt the busiest year ever for your BCSW, with more operations being mounted on our local roads than ever before, this only possible through the considerable efforts of your BCSW team, and with the outstanding support of our Broadstone community. So a sincere ‘thank you’ to one and all.
However, and mindful of the above, Community Speed Watch does have a major challenge just like any other volunteer group, and that is to attract new members to join our team. So if you think you might be able to offer a maximum of one hour a week then do contact either Dorset Police on-line and complete the on-line form provided, or contact us directly by e-mail ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. With more team members your commitment could be extended to one hour every fortnight or even less?
On Community Speed Watch generally, Dorset Police are putting resources and much effort into changing and improving the image of CSW, and to raising standards amongst the Community Speed Watch teams across the County. Policies and procedures are being revised and updated, reporting systems improved, and operating standards raised to ensure continuity and consistency regarding the implementation and effectiveness of such standards. Without doubt the benefits of this endeavour will be felt by all communities and road users alike, so 2018 could be an interesting year.
Locally, BCSW will continue to operate throughout the winter months, as and when weather permits. Conditions at times will be challenging, this particularly for drivers who do not have the luxury of a garage. Do make sure that your windscreens and windows are cleared of frost and/or snow before you set off on your journey. Look at weather forecasts and be aware of likely road conditions. Poor visibility may be an issue so do check that your vehicle lights and windscreen wipers are in good working order.
The winter season is upon us and our priorities have changed from keeping cool to keeping warm. One priority however has not changed, and that is to reduce instances of excessive speeding on our roads in and around our Broadstone community.
So BCSW (Broadstone Community Speed Watch) will continue to operate as and when weather conditions allow CSW operations to be mounted.
This time of the year brings many challenges to all road users, and all of you will be aware of what they are but here are a few reminders:-
Reduced visibility – From iced up or misted windscreens, to fog and mist, all of which reduce the ability of drivers to see clearly what is going on around them. So please ensure you clear your windscreens, side and rear windows before setting off. Reduced visibility also presents challenges to cyclists and pedestrians so look out for each other.
Slippery road surfaces – look out for wet leaves, surface water and ice which may increase stopping distances for cars and motorcycles, as well as presenting difficulties for cyclists and pedestrians.
Lights – As we move towards the ‘shortest day of the year’ many road users will be travelling to and from work and other places in the dark. Do make sure that your vehicle’s lights are in good working order and are clean. Cyclists in particular need to be visible with good and operational lights and reflective clothing.
Keep your distance – Regardless of the speed at which you are driving do leave sufficient distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front, and allow for the unexpected.
Last month’s article include some of the questions put to your Community Speed Watch team by residents who spoke to us, and here are some more:-
Q1. Why are you operating on this road?
A1. When BCSW was set up Broadstone Neighbourhood Watch sought input from Broadstone residents. Based on the feedback received a list of roads was sent to Dorset Police, and these roads were risk assessed by Dorset Police to determine which would be suitable for CSW operations. A total of 9 roads were identified and approved. Since that time all the ‘approved’ roads have been monitored and on every road vehicles have been observed and recorded as being driven at speeds in excess of that posted.
Q2. What if there have not been any accidents, injuries or fatalities?
A2. If speeding vehicles are an issue then Community Speed Watch will operate provided that the road in question is ‘approved’, and this regardless of whether or not there has been an accident, injury or a fatality. The aim of CSW is to raise awareness to existing speed limits, and to encourage drivers of vehicles to change their behaviour.
Q3. Why don’t the Police do this? It is not your job.
A3. It is a well known fact that in the current financial circumstances Police Forces nationally have had to cut manpower resources in order to meet restrictions on their budgets. Dorset is not immune from this so CSW teams have been established to allow communities to contribute to resolving issues affecting them, and excess speed is one such issue. Dorset CSW teams are vetted, trained and supported by Dorset Police.
The Q’s and A’s above are a sample, and more will appear in future publications. If you have a question please submit it to email@example.com
Please observe the speed limits, and help to ‘make Broadstone a safer place to live’.