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Shropshire Star comment: Speeding cars let off the hook

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

One set of statistics you don’t get to see is the proportion of lunatics on the road at particular times of day.

But intuitively the hours of darkness are the time when you will notice the aggressive drivers who itch to get past, and seem in a big hurry, although in all probability they have nothing in particular to hurry for and are just choosing to drive in that way.

As they tailgate and then zoom past needlessly, you could be forgiven for having a quiet hope that they will have an encounter with a speed camera, or come across a waiting police patrol car.

While you might think that that would see an administration of justice, it is not happening on the roads of the West Midlands as frequently as it used to.

Across the force area, the number of speeding drivers detected between April 2017 and March 2018 dropped significantly from the same period the previous year.

To be precise, there were 34 per cent fewer incidents recorded by police.

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The figures are from a study carried out by the RAC Foundation, which shows that nearly all of those snared were caught out by speed cameras.

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The West Midlands rate was just six offences per 1,000 people – one of the lowest in the entire country.

While it would be wonderful to believe that drivers in the West Midlands are some of the country’s most diligent and law abiding, it is hard to believe that these figures can be explained by different standards of driving across various geographical areas.

It is surely more likely that there are some places which have more speed cameras and more police patrols which can and will catch people speeding.

So it may just be the case that these figures tell us not much about comparative levels of speeding, and rather more about enforcement policy and police numbers.

In any event, while excess speed is certainly a major factor in many serious accidents, getting motorists to reduce their speed is just one factor in a package of measures which can improve safety.

And as long-suffering drivers in the West Midlands are well aware, these include better roads with improved junctions.

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