UK

Police stopped 2,000 motorists 'doing over 100mph' in 2014-15

Speedometer

More than 2,000 motorists in the UK were caught by police speeding at more than 100mph in the last year.

The figures come from 42 of the UK's 45 police forces in response to a Freedom of Information request from BBC Radio 5 live.

The highest speed recorded was 156mph on the A1(M) in Cambridgeshire in March - more than twice the national limit.

A footballer was fined £1,400 and given a six-month ban for that offence after being stopped in his BMW M4 Coupe.

Police were asked to supply details for the 2014-15 financial year on the number of offences they recorded where a motorist was found to be going over 100mph - either by a speed camera or from an officer's speed radar. Forces were also asked to supply the maximum speed, location and make and model of vehicle involved.

Three forces - Greater Manchester, Kent and Thames Valley - did not supply any information while others only provided some of the requested details.

But the responses showed at least 2,169 traffic reports were filed by UK police forces against motorists - most in cars but some on motorbikes - travelling at more than 100mph.

The highest speeds clocked after the BMW at 156mph, were a Mercedes C200 doing 155mph on the M1 in Hertfordshire, and a Jaguar at 144mph on the M4 in Gloucestershire.

The figures supplied by those forces specifying an exact speed showed 152 out of the 2,169 motorists were clocked going at 120mph or faster, with 43 stopped driving at speeds of at least 130mph.

Top recorded speeds

  • 156mph BMW, A1(M) Sawtry, Cambridgeshire

  • 155mph Mercedes C200, M1 Jct 7-6 Bricket Wood, Hertfordshire

  • 144mph Jaguar, M4 J20-19 Eastbound, Avon & Somerset

Where a make of car was specified for the group travelling at more than 130mph, a quarter were BMW cars or motorcycles. Another 13 were either Audi, Mercedes or Ford cars, while at least three other motorcyclists were involved.

The Cambridgeshire constabulary recorded the highest number of drivers going more than 100mph (284); followed by Humberside Police (166); Avon and Somerset Constabulary (164); Hertfordshire Constabulary (155); North Yorkshire Police (154), and West Mercia Police (151).

There were 146 motorists stopped in Scotland, while Surrey Police, while not supplying a breakdown of data, reported action had been taken against 140 motorists for speeding at between 101 and 140mph. There were 82 people caught going more than 100mph in Northern Ireland.

'Full force of law'

The National Police Chiefs Council lead for Roads Policing, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, told the BBC: "Speed is a significant factor in fatal road accidents and extreme speed causes an even greater risk to road users."

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said road safety was the number one priority for the industry.

"The industry… does not condone excessive speed and compiles with strict advertising rules covering speed," it said in a statement.

"Speed limits are in place for a reason and those who exceed them should face the full force of the law."

However, Gerard McManus, whose daughter, Rebecca, was killed standing at a bus stop in 2014 by a driver caught doing 101mph in a 40mph zone, suggests the motor industry is compounding the problems of speeding.

"The cars are advertised in such a way they can only appeal to a certain type of individual," he said.

"If you buy a performance car that's capable of 0-60 in four seconds and a top speed of 200mph, it's likely at some point the person is likely to take it to its limits."


Speeding driver's explanation

Richard from south-west England was fined £150 and had six points put on his driving licence after being caught driving at 103mph.

"I knew I was over the limit," he says. "I didn't know I was over 100mph.

"Modern cars are so isolated and insulated it's sometimes difficult to tell, and you can't watch the speedo every second. There are fatal consequences sometimes.

"Yes, in hindsight it's irresponsible - but conditions for driving were pretty much perfect. Clear sunny day, dry roads, good visibility, light to medium traffic, there was no perceived danger to my eyes at the time.

"But yes, I was over 100mph. Modern cars are very safety engineered but nothing's going to stop two ton of vehicle at that speed very quickly. It's made me more aware and I use cruise control now much more to keep a check on speeds."


According to the Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire, which studies driver behaviour, two groups of people are often caught driving at very high speeds.

There are young men - so-called boy racers - but also men in their 40s and 50s who own luxury cars and may do a lot of driving for work.

The head of Transport Psychology at TRL, Dr Shaun Helman, said: "Modern cars are very good at protecting you from the wind noise and the road noise and all the things that tell you that you are going fast. And as a result people lull themselves into this false sense of security."

"There is a famous psychologist who uses the term 'carcooned' - people are carcooned in their vehicles."

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