SURREY’S Police and Crime Commissioner has shared some of the worst excuses ever given to officers by speeding drivers as a county-wide roads campaign begins.
Lisa Townsend, who also serves as the national lead for road safety and transport for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, is urging drivers to slow down during Surrey Police’s Vulnerable Road Users Campaign.
It comes as new Department for Transport data reveals that in 2022, 50 per cent of car drivers across the UK routinely exceeded the limit on 30mph roads.
The Vulnerable Road Users Campaign, which began on September 11, calls for all road users to be mindful of those who may be at higher risk when travelling, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Between 2012 and 2021 in Surrey, 76 pedestrians, 26 cyclists and 57 motorcyclists died on the roads, while 928 pedestrians, 1,323 cyclists and 1,469 motorcyclists were seriously hurt.
Nationally, half of all road fatalities in 2022 were vulnerable road users.
Lisa has warned that there’s “no excuse” for exceeding the limit as officers from Surrey Police’s Vanguard Road Safety Team told of the worst explanations speeding drivers have given.
One driver caught motoring at more than 100 miles per hour on the M23 told officers they feared the second-hand car they were on the way to buy would be sold by the time they arrived.
Another revealed they’d put their foot down because they were running late for court.
Motorists who receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution after activating speed cameras often claim they were speeding in order to avoid a collision, while others say they thought they were being “followed” – despite making no reports to police at the time.
Others had more unusual excuses.
One speeding driver said they and their passengers had drunk a lot of water and needed to get to the toilet, while another motorist caught by a camera had a claimed they couldn’t identify the real driver because they’d allowed a one-night stand to borrow the vehicle.
And a driver caught on red light camera said a sneeze was responsible for their failure to stop.
One-night stand explanation
Lisa said: “Our fantastic roads policing officers have heard every excuse there is for careless, distracted and dangerous driving.
“But as the Vulnerable Road User Campaign gets underway, I want to reiterate that there simply is no excuse.
“For most of us, driving is the most dangerous thing we’ll do day-to-day. As an activity, it is likely to have the highest potential to cause harm to ourselves and others.
“There are simple measures every road user can take to avoid crashes, including cutting speed, putting mobile phones away in the glove box, being completely sober at the wheel and giving their complete attention to the task of driving.
The Commissioner is pictured with Surrey Police’s Vanguard Road Safety Team
“Many crashes are entirely avoidable, but people are dying on our roads as the result of bad driving, reckless decisions and even the most momentary lapses in concentration.
“Stopping any more deaths is a top priority in my Police and Crime Plan, and I am dedicated to making roads safer for all users.”
Sergeant Dan Pascoe of the Vanguard Road Safety Team said: “Between 2020 and 2022, speeding contributed to 33 per cent of collisions where people were killed and seriously injured on our roads.
“This is why it is classed as one of the Fatal 5 offences that my team and I work endlessly to reduce.
“There really is no excuse for putting lives or your licence at risk. Remember, we can’t be everywhere, but we could be anywhere.”