Cameras catch 135,000 speeders at Lancashire's worst accident blackspots

Average speed cameras have clocked more than 135,000 motorists driving too fast through Lancashire's worst accident blackspots since they were switched on less than four years ago.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 5:19 pm

The shock figures reveal the speed traps, on eight notorious routes in the county in a bid to cut the casualty toll, have been catching more than 100 speeders a day flouting the law.

The cameras, which cost £2.15m to set up, time drivers over a set distance and have brought in millions of pounds in speeding fines - paying for themselves many times over.

Yet they are proving so successful in reducing accidents that Lancashire is getting ready to roll out five more in the near future to clamp down on other roads seen as dangerous.

Average speed cameras on London Road, Preston have caught more than 24,000 speeders.

The statistics, produced in a Freedom of Information request by the Post, show the total number of motorists captured exceeding the limit on these eight routes up to the end of November was 135,625.

Preston's London Road is amongst the worst for speeding offences, with 24,392 caught on camera since it was the first to go live in 2017.

But the Grane Road in Haslingden has netted the most - a colossal 63,992 - according to the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership which installed the cameras.

The A565 Southport New Road between Banks and Tarleton saw 13,606 speeders booked and the A65 at Belmont wasn't far behind with 13,517. Brockholes Brow in Preston had 11,791 snapped for driving too fast.

Brockholes Brow where two young women were killed crossing the road in 2016.

"While a significant number of vehicles have been recorded speeding, the reduction in serious and fatal collisions on these routes has been considerable," said a spokesman for the Road Safety Partnership.

Average speed cameras were rolled out between March 2017 and August 2018 on the eight worst stretches of road for accidents in the county.

Official figures show that between 2011 and 2016 the eight blackspots recorded a total of 273 collisions involving 426 casualties, 12 of whom died and a further 71 suffered serious or life-changing injuries.

The 0.7 mile piece of London Road, between the Capitol Centre at Walton-le-Dale and Albyn Street East in Preston, was the first to go live on March 23, 2017. It was followed three months later by an eight-mile stretch of the A675 from the M65 junction 3, through Abbey Village and Belmont to Scout Road.

The all-seeing eye of an average speed camera.

The 3.7 mile section of the A565 Southport New Road came next in August 2017, followed by a two mile length of Head Dyke Lane at Pilling in October, the Grane Road (4.7 miles) in the November and Brockholes Brow (0.5 miles) the following month.

A three-mile section of Preston New Road near Kirkham was switched on in March 2018 and finally the A682 Gisburn Road (5.2m) between Barrowford and Gisburn went live on August 2018.

Five more accident troublespots have been identified as the next to get the average speed camera technology and will be introduced soon at a cost of £7.9m.

They are: The A6 at Lancaster between M6 junction 33 and Scotforth/Galgate, the A581 between Rufford and Euxton, the A588 from Lancaster's Pointer roundabout to Skippool, the A683 between M6 junction 34 and Kirkby Lonsdale.

London Road was the first average speed camera zone to go live in March 2017.

After viewing the statistics so far, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: "Evidence shows that speeding is a major factor in road deaths and serious collisions, with careless drivers putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk. Only a few miles per hour can mean the difference between life and death.

“In an ideal world people would observe the speed limit and we wouldn’t be catching them breaking the law.

"I'm pleased to see this type of enforcement activity continuing, with the ultimate aim to reduce serious collisions and save lives.”

Drivers caught on camera speeding face a minimum fine of £100 plus three penalty points on their licence. Depending on how fast they were travelling, many are offered a speed awareness course which spares them the points deduction.

During 2019/20 official figures show there were a total 71,303 speeding offences in Lancashire, up from 55,900 eight years ago. They accounted for 87 per cent of all motoring offences in the county.

In the same period 33,700 were sent on speed awareness courses, 19,400 were fined and 12,000 resulted in court action. Around 6,000 bookings were cancelled.

Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw is "pleased" to see the cameras getting results.

“We are striving for a Lancashire where we prevent all collisions that result in death or serious injury," said the spokesman for the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership.

"The introduction of the average speed cameras has been overwhelmingly positive and highlights the correlation between speed compliancy and serious collisions.

"While a significant number of vehicles have been recorded speeding since the introduction of the permanent average speed cameras in 2017, the majority of people are complying with the speed limits. But we recognise a small number of motorists have, disappointingly, failed to comply.

“We would remind drivers of the importance of following the rules of the road and the sanctions for not doing so.

“Speeding through average speed cameras carries the same consequences as any other speeding offence and could result in the offer of a speed awareness course, a £100 fixed penalty and 3 points, and more serious offences may be referred to court for prosecution.”

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "Average speed cameras have been shown to be effective at reducing speeds, and improving safety, and we're pleased that the police's evidence so far supports this being the case where they have been installed in Lancashire."