Putting the brakes on speeding in Doncaster

Chief Inspector Glen Suttenwood at the launch of Operation Illuminate. Picture: Andrew Roe

Chief Inspector Glen Suttenwood at the launch of Operation Illuminate. Picture: Andrew Roe

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This week it emerged that one evening last October, a driver was clocked hurling along York Road. in Scawthorpe, travelling at 109mph.

The research that revealed the information had the case as the second fastest speed in the country in an area restricted to 30mph or 40mph. It was the fastest in South Yorkshire.

The driver was caught in a 40mph zone on the A638 York Road, and has not been caught. Today, road safety campaigners called warned of the dangers of speeding - and the risks to life that it can bring. The 109mph speeding case, which was recorded by cameras near Pipering Lane West on at 8.15pm on October 12, was revealed following a freedom of information request to South Yorkshire Police.

Sarah Sillars, chief executive officer of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “These are the roads we all use on a day-to-day basis and as a result are rife with hazards for any driver. Schoolchildren, shoppers, the elderly – they are all using the same space and won’t be prepared for anybody travelling at this speed.

“Exceeding the limit to such a degree is potentially suicidal in such conditions, not to mention incredibly dangerous for other road users. Clearly these drivers do not see the potential consequences of what they are doing.

“We believe if we are going to change this mind set, there needs to be personalised sentencing options made available to challenge this behaviour fully. The IAM would support further research on which types of courses would be most effective in changing entrenched speeding attitudes so that we can start to offer them alongside the well-established speed awareness courses for those just over the limit.”

Bosses at the South Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership, which runs the network of speed cameras in the county. said the car which was clocked driving at 109mph was a BMW which had been fitted with false registration plates.

The fine was originally sent to the owner of the vehicle with the genuine plate, who was found to be a retired former Sheffield Council engineer, living in Doncaster.

But further investigations revealed it was a different model of car which had been clocked, and he had not been the driver.

Police have been looking for the car which was driving at 109mph, and it has been spotted by electronic monitors in the Doncaster area on 12 occasions. Kevin Bennett, manager for prosecution and inquiries at at South Yorkshire Safety Camera Division said: “It was a cloned vehicle, which makes us think it was either a criminal or someone with criminal intent.”

South Yorkshre Police Roads Policing Inspector Steve Askham said: “The speeding offence on York Road is currently being investigated by officers. We will do all we can to ensure the roads in Doncaster, as well as throughout the county, are effectively policed and those who choose to make the irresponsible and dangerous decision to break the law are appropriately dealt with.”

York Road is one of the Doncaster streets which has a permanent speed camera, to keep an eye out for those who break the law on speeding. On average, it sees 60 cases of speeding a week. But in January, the average speed there was 36.9mph. But in total over the month, 15 per cent of cars travelled at over 41.6mph.

Road humps, traffic islands and slower limits outside schools have all been rolled out to but the brakes on drivers on Doncaster’s roads.

And efforts are being taken by a number of organisations who aim to keep the streets safe, with the view being that excess speed is one of the worst causes of road accidents..

Speed limits of 20mph were brought in outside a number of schools in 2013, in a move by Doncaster Council which was backed by the borough’s MPs.

Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband, whose constituency includes a section of York Road, previously campaigned for mandatory 20mph speed limits outside Doncaster’s schools.

He said: “I would urge drivers to observe the speed limit. Speeding is unacceptable – and anti-social – and drivers caught doing excessive speeds could well face a fine or even a ban.”

“Statistics show that if someone is hit by a car travelling at 40mph they will probably die but if they are hit at 20mph they are likely to live. I hope all drivers will bear that in mind.” But it is not just around schools that action has been taken.

Elected mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, said she and colleagues at Doncaster Council were concerned about speeding, and had taken measures to dea with the issue.

She said: “We are very concerned about speeding which can have potentially tragic consequences.

“The council uses various measures to help manage vehicle speeds including road humps, traffic islands, road markings, surface treatments and traffic signs. “In order to have the greatest impact on improving safety, such measures are prioritised and targeted at locations with the greatest number of casualties.

“South Yorkshire Police are responsible for tackling speeding offences, but we work in partnership with them.

“We recognise the importance that education can have in influencing behaviours and in some cases training is offered in lieu of prosecution.

“Ultimately it is up to motorists to be careful and responsible on the roads, driving appropriately to the conditions and within the law.”

South Yorkshire Police are also trying to tackle the problem, and recently launched Operation Illuminate to crack down on speeding and other issues.

The force’s Roads Policing Inspector, Steve Askham, said: “Excessive and inappropriate speeding can be a significant contributory factor in fatal and serious injury road traffic collisions that often results in distress and heartache for the speeding driver’s victim, their family and loved ones.

“South Yorkshire Police take a robust approach to tackling speeding drivers and launched Operation Illuminate last month (February) in collaboration with Humberside police.

“Illuminate focuses on speeding, driver behaviour, not driving to the road conditions and driving whilst being over the prescribed limit (alcohol and drugs) as well others factors, with the main aim of the op to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads through education, partnership intervention work, enforcement and targeting specific roads across the county.

South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership, the organisation which works to prevent injuries and deaths on the county’s roads sees speeds as one of the most significant road safety issues.

Joanne Wehrle, education manager for the organisation, said that speeding was one of the ‘Fatal Four’ contributory factors resulting in fatalities and injuries in road traffic collisions.

She said: “Speeding is never a good idea, particularly in busy, built-up urban areas, where the speed limits are lower for a very good reason.

“The speed limit is the absolute maximum. It does not mean that it is safe to drive at that speed in all conditions so every motorist should drive according to the road conditions at the time. A speeding motorist will take much longer to stop, resulting in untold damage to anything or anyone that unexpectedly gets in their way.”

“Doncaster has already experienced tragedy on its roads in recent months and although the reasons behind these collisions have yet to be determined, we would remind road users that they have a responsibility to keep themselves and other road users safe.

“They should do everything they can to protect themselves and other road users by abiding by some basic steps. Drive to the conditions of the road and do not speed; never use a mobile phone whilst at the wheel; do not drive when under the influence of drink or drugs; and always ensure that everyone in a vehicle is wearing a seat belt.

“These are the messages the Partnership will continue to press home as part of the recently-launched Operation Illuminate, a joint operation with South Yorkshire Police that aims to reduce road casualties across South Yorkshire through education as well as enforcement.

“There is no doubt about it, speed kills and so we will continue to do all we can to try and get that message across and encourage drivers and riders to travel at appropriate speeds.”

Your views:

Free Press readers had their own views on where they saw Doncaster’s speeding blackspots.

They took to social media to tell us where their concerns are.

On Facebook:

Danielle Ingram: Attlee Avenue in Rossington!!! It’s ridiculous how fast people drive down this street!! Something needs to be done about it because somebody is going to get hurt one day.

Janet Flint: See it most days especially on Barnsley Road and York Road. Should be speed restrictions on Barnsley Road and cameras. Two schools on that road and people are driving like maniacs!!

Margaret Rose: Wish traffic would slow down through Finningley. The lorry drivers don’t stick to to 30 speed limit .

Lynne Jinks: Hayfield Lane, Auckley. In the evenings.

Steven Yates: Same on warmsworth Road. Fly past my house at least 70 in a 40 limit

Michael Henderson: Tickhill road coming out of Bawtry - its where the kids catch the school bus, with most drivers well over the speed limit before they have left Bawtry itself.

Nina Galsworthy: Everingham Road, Cantley - its like a race track and with kids about. Very dangerous. We need speed bumps.

On twitter:

Rho @trbabe: Not surprising. Speeding is pandemic around Doncaster. Never see a camera or patrols. Especially around Lakeside.