Driver clocked at 123mph on Orwell Bridge during lockdown – more than double the limit
PUBLISHED: 16:00 08 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:04 08 May 2020
Hundreds of motorists have been caught speeding along the A12 and A14 since lockdown began, with one offender driving more than double the 60mph speed limit along the Orwell Bridge.
168 speeding offences were recorded by average speed cameras along Suffolk’s two main roads in the first three weeks of lockdown – with police chiefs raising concerns that some people are “taking advantage” of the county being unusually quiet.
Figures obtained by this newspaper through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, show that despite reduced numbers of cars on the roads, speeding remains a concern for Suffolk Constabulary during lockdown.
The highest speed recorded from Tuesday, March 24 to Tuesday, April 14, was a Skoda travelling 123mph on the A14 westbound carriageway at the Orwell Bridge.
This was shortly followed by two BMW’s caught speeding on the A12 from Stratford St Mary to East Bergholt, doing 114mph and 106mph.
Less offences – but higher average speeds
Inspector Gary Miller, of the roads and armed policing team, said: “123mph is absolutely ridiculous and totally reckless.
“The 60mph speed restriction exists on that part of the A14 because of the volume of incidents there and the road layout. So this speed is horrific and completely baffling.”
Insp Miller explained that as a department, the roads and armed policing team has seen less speeding offences since lockdown began, but says they are “seeing much higher average speeds”.
He said the force is regularly seeing drivers go over 100mph on the A14, A12 and A11.
More: ‘Selfish’ drivers speeding on Suffolk roads left quiet during lockdown
The data, from Suffolk police, showed there were a total of 116 offences on the stretch of the A12 between East Bergholt and Straford St Mary and 52 along the Orwell Bridge on the A14.
Why are people speeding?
Insp Miller says there are two main reasons for speeding during lockdown.
Firstly, as there is less traffic on the roads, Insp Miller says people may inadvertently allow their speed to creep up.
“Secondly, some people are taking advantage of the roads being more quiet, flouting the law in this way and deliberately testing out their cars and ignoring the speed limits completely,” he said.
Insp Miller reminded motorists that “speeding restrictions remain in place and there is no excuse to go over the limit, as you are putting lives at risk”.
“We are out in force actively targeting these people and we will not tolerate it,” he urged.
As well as more people driving at higher speeds, Insp Miller said his team have noticed that “many people are not paying attention to the roads”.
He said that on numerous occasions officers will be sat behind a speeding vehicle in a marked police car and the driver won’t notice until they are stopped.
He also explained that recently his team has seen more cars with defects on them, such as tyre defects, which are often added to increase the speed of a vehicle.
“This is not acceptable,” reminded Insp Miller. “If people draw attention to themselves by speeding, we will discuss their offence with them but we will also question why they are out, and whether they are within the health protection act.”
The 168 motorists who were caught speeding along the A12 and A14 will all have received notices of intended prosecution.
Some of those will go straight to court once the driver has been identified, some will be issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) and others will be provided with a speed awareness course invite.
Additionally, until the Constabulary gets the response they won’t know if they were emergency vehicles ‘on a job’ and therefore exempt. However, the speed cameras wouldn’t process emergency vehicles on blue lights anyway.
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