SLOW down! That is the message from road safety experts and the police after new figures showed more motorists than ever are breaking the speed limit — with one driver clocked at a massive 162mph on the M18.
South Yorkshire saw an eight per cent rise in the number of speeding offences between 2018 and 2019, from 66,045 to 71,503.
The county’s most dangerous cases also include one driver going 110mph in a 40mph zone.
The M18 speedster was reported on summons to court, where he was fined and given six penalty points.
Joanne Wehrle manager of South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, said: “It’s disappointing that so many drivers feel it is acceptable to speed to such an extent.
“How would these drivers feel if other motorists were using the roads where they live with such disregard for the speed limit, putting their family’s lives at risk?
“Think about the consequences and how you would feel if you killed or seriously injured someone because you were driving too fast.”
She pointed out that road safety rules still applied in the current pandemic situation, adding: “Those who speed are selfishly putting other people’s lives at risk at a time when we need to protect the NHS, not add to their burden by having to deal with casualties from avoidable road traffic collisions.
“With less traffic on the road, those drivers who are flouting the rules are more likely to stand out and come to the attention of the police.
“They are still enforcing road traffic laws, so protect yourself and others by sticking to the speed limits.”
A police spokeswoman said: “Officers pro-actively patrol our roads every day, and every day we unfortunately see drivers putting themselves and others at risk.
“Speeding can easily be avoided and laws are in place to protect drivers, other road users and pedestrians — even if you are one mile an hour over the speed limit, it can have serious consequences and devastating effects on victims and families of those involved in collisions.
“Where appropriate we are robust in dealing with drivers who are caught driving over the speed limit and work hard to bring them before the courts.”
Insurance firm Confused.com obtained figures for 2.5 million speeding offences last year, which showed a seven per cent increase nationally.
There are also concerns about drivers putting their foot down during the lockdown, with fewer vehicles on the roads overall — a survey found one in five UK drivers had “seen or heard” more cars speeding since being on lockdown.
South Yorkshire Police’s roads policing inspector Jason Booth said since people had been told to stay at home when possible, there had been “numerous serious collisions and road accidents in which we believe speed was a factor”.
He added: “As restrictions have now been eased, the roads are going to get busier. The speed limits and laws are there to protect you and other road users.
“Some people may have not driven their cars for a few weeks, some will have got used to the quieter roads with less hazards.
“We are there to protect you, our communities. We will be carrying out patrols ensuring everyone stays safe.”