Speeding is as bad as carrying a knife, says top cop

Senior police officer says drivers who break the speed limit are “weaponising” their cars

Speeding

A senior police officer has drawn parallels between drivers who break speed limits and people who carry knives. 

Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox, chair of the police strategic board for serious collision investigation, said: “Sometimes the person going before the magistrate or the judge might be a young black man who’s carried a knife, and the person who has driven at extreme speed could be a professional, middle-aged white male”, the Sunday Times reports.

Cox went on to: “Sentencing can’t be based on perception. It needs to be based on risk and likely harm, because that middle-aged professional white man is posing harm to everybody else.”  Men are roughly twice as likely to have penalty points from speeding offences on their driving licence compared to women.

The number of road fatalities fell steadily between 2005, when 3,160 people were killed on roads in Great Britain, and 2013, when 1,713 people lost their lives. The last eight years has seen a plateauing of those figures, however, which have actually risen since their low point eight years ago, with 1,827 people losing their lives in 2019. 

Reasons for changing fatality rates are multi-faceted, but trends such as improving vehicle safety, the widespread unacceptability of drink driving, and tougher penalties for using a mobile phone behind the wheel play their part. The long-term reduction in road deaths over the last 30 years (6,570 people died on our roads in 1976) has occurred despite the UK’s population growing by 8.1 million. 

Ascribing excessive speed as the cause of accidents is no simple matter, but a Government select committee previously heard evidence from police that 14 per cent of collisions are caused by excess speed (IE breaking the speed limit), while inappropriate speed (IE driving too fast for prevailing conditions) was behind a further 32 per cent of crashes.

Lockdown saw an overall decrease in traffic volumes, and road fatalities fell with them. Yet clearer roads saw 70 per cent of drivers break 30mph limits at some points during April 2020, compared with an average of 53 per cent in 2019. 

Research from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents holds that 90 per cent of pedestrians die when hit at 40mph, while 50 per cent survive if hit at 30mph, and 90 per cent survive if struck at 20mph. 

The Sunday Times reports DCS Cox said drivers who speed are “weaponising” their vehicles, adding: “How is that different from the use of violence in a fight?” He added that people should “challenge” friends and family members who speed, even though doing so might be “socially awkward”.

Got a speeding ticket? Here's what you need to do next...

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e
Fiat 500 vs Honda e vs MINI Electric
Car group tests

Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e

The new Fiat 500, MINI Electric and Honda e are three retro-inspired electric superminis - but which is best?
19 Jun 2021
New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review
Audi Q4 e-tron 2021  front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review

We get involved with the new all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron SUV on UK roads for the first time
17 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition
Ford Puma

Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed

Ford unveils a special edition Puma ST, with a black and gold colour scheme chosen by Ford fans over social media
18 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review
Nissan Qashqai 2021
Nissan Qashqai

New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the larger, more comfortable and higher-tech Nissan Qashqai SUV in the UK
16 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power
Vauxhall Astra render
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power

The new Vauxhall Astra will get a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a more premium image - here’s how it could look
17 Jun 2021
New 2021 Hyundai Tucson N-Line hybrid and PHEV on sale now
Hyundai Tuscon N Line - front
Hyundai Tucson

New 2021 Hyundai Tucson N-Line hybrid and PHEV on sale now

Hyundai names price for new Tucson N-Line hybrid duo with plug-in offering 38 miles of electric running
18 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services
Tesla Model 3 police car - front
News

Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services

Tesla hopes to offer UK police forces a new zero-emission emergency responder option with the Model 3 police car
17 Jun 2021
Motorists think they can get away with driving offences due to lack of road police
police speed gun
News

Motorists think they can get away with driving offences due to lack of road police

Lack of road traffic police officers in the UK is making it easy for drivers to break the law, according to a survey of 15,500 British motorists
16 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
New Mercedes-AMG S 63 spied in minimal camouflage
Mercedes-AMG S 63
Mercedes S-Class

New Mercedes-AMG S 63 spied in minimal camouflage

AMG will soon launch a tuned version of Mercedes’s flagship limousine, probably powered by a 603bhp twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine
18 Jun 2021