Belfast Telegraph

There's a good reason for speed limits and with 68 dead on our roads last year it's time that we started to obey them

Editor's Viewpoint

Many motorists who read our story today of the more than 43,500 drivers caught speeding in 2016, generating an estimated £2.6m in fines, will think to themselves that speed cameras are only installed as a way of raising revenue.

But they should bear in mind that there were actually less cameras deployed last year, showing that it is driver behaviour rather than a deliberate attempt to catch the unwary which is the reason for the increase.

Another factor in the increase is a lowering of the discretionary excess speed which is now accepted. Some offenders will say that they were only slightly over the limit - and it should be noted that two-thirds of those caught were driving in 30mph zones, typically built-up areas where it is easiest to break the limit.

However, the reality is that limits are imposed for a reason - they are thought to be the safe speed at which to drive in certain areas and should be observed as such.

It is also worth noting that the most prolific offenders are those in the 40-54 age range, people who should actually know better.

By comparison, the often quoted boy racers, those aged under 25, were only responsible for 9% of offences.

Northern Ireland traditionally had a bad road death record and, while it has improved dramatically from the worst days, 68 people were killed last year and thousands injured in traffic accidents.

Speed is consistently one of the main causes of accidents involving injury and death and there are many homes in the province still grieving the loss of a loved one who died through excessive speeding, either their own or by the person who killed them.

Speed cameras obviously are an effective way of detecting those breaking the speed limit or as happened in 314 cases, jumping red lights, another very dangerous manoeuvre.

Ultimately, drivers have a sure-fire way of making sure they don't become a speeding statistic - lifting their foot off the accelerator.

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