Belfast Telegraph

Revealed: Northern Ireland’s speed hotspots in a year when 31,000 got fines

By Lauren Harte

This is the list that reveals where you are most likely to be caught speeding in Northern Ireland.

More than 30,000 speed offences were recorded in 2017 - an average of more than 80 a day.

One camera alone, on Belfast's Saintfield Road, recorded 3,761 incidents.

Another on the city's Upper Newtownards Road clocked 1,717 cars, while a third on the Springfield Road caught 1,256.

In total, 31,076 speeding offences were detected.

Each offender is usually hit with a £60 fine, meaning the offending will have generated almost £1.9m.

Road safety campaigners voiced concerns at the figures, and called for stricter enforcement.

The number of people caught speeding here has trebled since 2004.

However, the number of offences in 2017 fell compared to the previous year, down 28% from 43,658.

One explanation for the fall may be a drop in the number of mobile safety camera deployments. There were 13% fewer in 2017 compared to 2016.

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Northern Ireland's speeding hot spots

The figures were obtained from the Northern Ireland Road Safety Partnership.

They show that:

  • Two-thirds (65.9%) of all speed-related detections were on 30mph roads.
  • The highest speed recorded in 2017 was 100mph, on the A1 Sprucefield to Sheepbridge Road (a 70mph zone).
  • One driver was caught doing 71mph in a 30mph zone; another was caught at 85mph in a 40mph zone.
  • 17,035 incidents resulted in the driver attending a speed awareness course, a further 12,724 were referred for a fixed penalty notice, while 1,674 were referred for prosecution.
  • Almost three-quarters (72.2%) of detections in 2017 were made by mobile speed cameras.
  • Those aged 40-54 were most likely to speed (10,374 incidents), followed by those aged 25-39 (9,726).

Inspector Rosie Leech from the PSNI's Roads Policing Unit said far too many people were still taking unacceptable risks.

She told the Belfast Telegraph: "While we welcome this report, it is difficult to accept these statistics as a success.

"Despite the downward trend of fewer people being killed on our roads over the last 10 years, inappropriate speed for the conditions is still consistently one of the main causes of the most serious collisions in which people are killed and seriously injured.

"Removing excess speed from the road safety equation should be the easiest thing that every road user can do.

"If we all stop speeding, more people live. If we all stop speeding, fewer people have to contend with life-changing injuries.

"Road safety is and will continue to be a key priority for the safety camera partnership and police. It should be everyone's priority.

"Whether as a driver, a motorcyclist, a pedestrian or a cyclist, we all share the roads and the responsibility for road safety."

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said penalties for speeding need to be toughened up.

"There is no excuse for speeding, it is a selfish act which endangers lives and the figures in Northern Ireland are cause for concern," he said.

"We work closely with the victims of road crashes and sees first-hand the devastation they cause to individuals, families and whole communities.

"Brake urges greater investment in roads policing and stricter enforcement - there should be an expectation on the roads that if you break the law, you will be caught and penalised."

According to the Road Safety Partnership's figures, the fixed site on the Saintfield Road accounted for almost half (49.0%) of the 7,669 speeding detections by fixed cameras.

This was followed by Upper Newtownards Road (22.4%), Springfield Road (16.4%) and Antrim Road (12.2%), all in Belfast.

The remaining detections were made by mobile cameras. Currently there are eight highly visible mobile speed camera vans operating seven days a week here at 86 permanently signed locations as well as 'community concern sites', where people have raised concerns over speeding.

Of these, the Sprucefield to Sheepbridge Road route had the most detections with 1,271 in 2017, while a small number of sites had no detections.

In 2017 there were almost three times the number of detections in 2017 compared with 2004.

The main reason for this increase was the reduction in the threshold at which a driver can be detected speeding.

The first marked increase in the number of detections was in 2009 prior to any changes in the threshold.

The main reason for this was that operators became civilianised in December 2008.

Prior to this the camera vans were operated by PSNI officers.

In 2017, 357 detections were made by the red light-running cameras across Northern Ireland - an increase of 13.7% compared with 2016.

The site that recorded the most red light-running detections in 2017 was at the junction of Millfield and Peter's Hill, Belfast where 142 drivers were detected for running the red light (39.8% of the total).

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