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Huge increase in West Mercia speeding fines, with tens of thousands caught in the last year

By Dominic Robertson | Crime | Published:

There has been a huge increase in speeding fines in West Mercia, figures reveal, with tens of thousands caught in the last year alone.

With speeding offences at record levels across England and Wales, road safety charity Brake has warned that breaking the speed limit can have "devastating consequences".

West Mercia Police logged a total of 31,023 speeding tickets paid by drivers snapped on camera in 2018, the latest Home Office statistics show – 41 per cent more than in 2017.

This was also far more than the 24,185 paid when comparable records began in 2011.

Not every incident resulted in a fine –with more than 60,000 drivers getting away with it as overall, cameras flashed for 91,423 speed violations in West Mercia last year.

In Dyfed-Powys, Gwent and South Wales fines fell to a record low for the same period.

There were 23,591 speeding tickets paid by drivers in the area snapped on camera in 2018 – 26 per cent fewer than in 2017.

Drivers found to have broken the speed limit face possible punishments ranging from a fine to attending a speed awareness course, or even court action.

Police forces can send someone on a driver retraining course, which includes those on speed awareness, at their own discretion – meaning figures for fines may differ widely across the country.

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Risk

However, those having to retrain can only attend a course once in a three-year period, even if they commit the same offence again.

In West Mercia, camera-detected speed violations led to 6,713 court actions and 44,189 drivers retraining. There were also 45 incomplete and 9,453 cancelled fines.

Across England and Wales, speed limit offences were at their highest level recorded since 2011 last year.

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Samuel Nahk, senior public affairs officer at Brake, said: "Breaking the speed limit by any amount can have devastating consequences, and drivers who selfishly ignore speed limits put not only themselves, but other road users, at serious risk.

"Speed cameras play a crucial role in enforcing our traffic laws, and are a proven, cost-effective way of reducing speed and preventing deaths and serious injuries.

"However, road safety isn't just about enforcement, we need safer speed limits, safer vehicles and safer road infrastructure to make sure that no journey ends in tragedy and we all manage to get home to our loved ones safely."

Cameras detected 97 per cent of the 2.1 million offences recorded across England and Wales by police last year, according to the figures, as well as 74 per cent of cases where drivers neglected traffic directions.

This could involve, for example, a failure to follow road signs such as "right of way".

Drivers found to have committed a motoring offence attended a retraining course in about 45 per cent of cases with a penalty recorded, far higher than the 14 per cent reported in 2011.

A further 40 per cent of offences resulted in a fine paid and 15 per cent involved court action.

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