Speeders put lives at risk

Speeders put lives at risk

3 August 2022

SHOCKING statistics have revealed that speeding motorists across the district are continuing to put themselves and others at risk with their reckless driving.

The latest speeding figures released by the district’s Policing and Community Safety Partnership have revealed that one person was clocked at an astonishing 154mph in a 30mph zone on the Ballynahinch Road in Saintfield. 

Incredibly, 23 other drivers have been clocked travelling at over 100mph at the same road during a near three-month period between May and June, with 26 recorded travelling in excess of 70mph.

One driver was clocked travelling at 93mph in the 30mph zone in Clough, with another recorded travelling at 89mph in the 30mph zone on the Dublin Road in Castlewellan. Other speeding hot spots include Killyleagh, Downpatrick, Ardglass and Newcastle.

The outrageous behaviour of some drivers has been recorded by a series of electronic devices which have been installed across the district by the Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), but they are not capable of recording vehicle registration numbers which is an issue some politicians believe needs to be addressed.

Erected as part of a major offensive on drivers who break the law at a number of well known speeding hot spots, the speed indicator devices are being hailed a success as speeds in most areas where they are located are reducing.

However, concern remains about the behaviour of some drivers continuing to show a blatant disregard for 30mph and 40mph speed limits in place with the 154mph speed recorded in Saintfield described by one local politician as “outrageously horrific”

The speed device is located at a busy approach to the town centre which is dominated by major housing developments and an area where there is high pedestrian traffic.

The latest figures confirm that drivers are continuing to display a blatant disregard for the law by driving excessively fast in built-up areas, with some of the highest violations recorded between 6am and 7am and around 7.30pm.

Elsewhere, one driver was detected travelling at 83mph in the 30mph zone on the Shrigley Road in Killyleagh, close to the town’s Integrated Primary School, while another driver was detected at 81mph in the 40mph zone at the Strangford Road in Downpatrick.

Another shocking statistic which has been confirmed is that one driver was clocked at 77mph at the 30mph zone on the Downpatrick Road in Ardglass, with another recorded at 67mph in the 30mph zone at Newcastle’s South Promenade. 

While no driver was detected at 70mph at this part of the resort, the new figures also reveal that nine drivers were recorded travelling over 70mph in Clough, 36 in Castlewellan, 17 in Killyleagh, 25 in Downpatrick and seven in Ardglass.

The PCSP statistics also show that recorded speeds in Castlewellan have reduced by almost 12% over the past three months, with a near 9% reduction in Killyleagh.

Elsewhere, there has been a 6.66% average speed reduction in Downpatrick, with reductions also recorded in Ardglass (5.66%), Newcastle (5.18%) and Saintfield (3.33%).

Demand for the installation of more speed indicator devices remains high, with Rowallane councillor Robert Burgess concerned that a hardcore of drivers are refusing to slow down.

He expressed particular concern at the 154mph speed recorded in Saintfield and suspects a motorbike rider may well have been responsible.

“It simply beggars belief that anyone would travel at such an outrageously high speed in a built-up area,” he said. 

“The Ballynahinch Road is always very busy, especially during the school holiday period which we are now in. I would appeal to drivers to please slow down and show respect to their fellow road users and pedestrians.” 

Cllr Burgess said his biggest fear is what could happen if drivers of vehicles travelling at excessively high speeds across the district lost control on their vehicles and crashed. 

“The potential consequences of such an accident are simply too horrific to contemplate. The recorded speed data is a worry and we all need to do what we can to make our roads safer,” he continued.

Cllr Burgess said he also hopes that police will target the district’s speeding hot spots at the times when the high speeds are being recorded, most notably, during the early morning.

“The speed indicator devices provide a picture of where and when police should be targeting their resources and perhaps if speeding drivers start appearing in court, it will encourage others to slow down.”

Cllr Burgess believes the Department for Infrastructure also has a role to play in helping address the speeding issue to protect as much as possible all road users and pedestrians from the threat of serious injury and harm.

He added: “Slow progress is being made to encourage drivers to slow down but it is clear from these latest speeding statistics that much more needs to be done.”