Which police forces issue the most speeding tickets in the UK – and what does that really mean?
There are lots of things to consider when you take to the road in one of our hire vehicles. The driving conditions. The speed limit. The level of traffic. And, perhaps, the likelihood of collecting a speeding ticket should you find yourself going just a little too fast.
So thanks to car dealer Dick Lovett, who made a Freedom of Information request recently to find the most ticket-happy police forces in the UK. And the results were something of an eye-opener.
Penalty hot spots
The constabulary dishing out the most speeding fines issued almost double the next highest total. Avon & Somerset police issued 163,784 fixed penalty notices (FPNs). That’s 1,200 times more than the least stringent constabulary (Gwent, who handed out just 135 FPNs) and massively more even than the 2nd, 3rd and 4th most heavily penalising constabularies (West Mercia, Hampshire and Northumbria).
Whilst not as apparently lenient as Gwent, other constabularies seem to have little time for FPNs too. Bedfordshire, Wiltshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire police all issued fewer than 1,000 FPNs each. That last one will be particularly good news for anyone taking a rental van or hire car south from our Lincoln depot.
In addition to the FPN totals, the investigation revealed the highest speeds recorded in the UK too. Once again, Avon & Somerset topped the chart with one driver hitting 162mph. This time, however, it shared top honours with South Yorkshire. A further eight constabularies (including West Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, both home to TJS depots) recorded speeds in excess of 150mph.
So what does this tell us? Given the data, should you proceed with caution as you nudge your rental vehicle out of our Leeds, Scunthorpe and Lincoln depots? Should you make sure the speed limiter is always on as you take your car anywhere near Bristol?
Of course not. Because interesting as these stats are, and despite the hysterical reaction from some of the national press who ran articles about the ‘worst areas for speeding’, this data only tells us about police focus, not about the reality on the roads.
Are the roads of Gwent really 1,200 times safer (and slower) than Bristol’s? We suspect not. Are there 1,200 times more speeders in Somerset than Gwent? Doubt it. And whilst the highest speed of 162mph is shocking, that’s one car and one driver. It’s hardly something to base a policy change on.
Speeding tickets issued is not a measure of speeding drivers. It is a measure of police focus and active speeding cameras.
So, irrespective of this data, the simplest way of avoiding a ticket whilst out in our rental vehicles is to keep your speed within the limit.