Police Superintendent Andy Cox has been very active on social media promoting how great a job he is doing for road safety by increasing the number of speeding tickets being issued in London.
For example a recent tweet from him said: “Incredible work by Traffic officers tackling #speeding. Last week we enforced 2,020 speeding offences across #London. By comparison it was 268 in same week in 2019. An 8 fold increase!”
What he does not say is that speed limits have been reduced in that period with a blanket 20 mph limit on all main central London roads. In addition there are more speed cameras and an expanded team of police officers using them.
Supt. Cox and others are saying that due to the lighter traffic from the coronavirus epidemic there is more speeding taking place but no evidence has been provided for that. It may be possible that some people are exceeding limits where roads are quiet and pedestrians non-existent but that hardly justifies a major police campaign. The increase in recorded speeding offences is undoubtedly mainly due to more enforcement activity.
Will it actually reduce road casualty statistics? Exceedingly unlikely because exceeding the speed limit is actually recorded as a contributory factor in only 5.9% of such accidents in London in the last five years. It’s just a witch-hunt in essence when the police would be much better to spend their resources on tackling real crimes such as knife crime which is out of control in many parts of London.
There are some extreme speeders that should be stopped because those are the ones involved in drink/drug driving or other crimes. But a lot of police enforcement of speeding is pointless. It does not cut accidents but just leads to more speeding fines being issued. And as we have pointed out before, the use of speed awareness courses now provides a powerful incentive for the police to waste resources on speeding offences because they get a cut of the income generated. It’s distorting road safety priorities.
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