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‘Appalling’results from night-time speed checks

Police speed enforcement teams provided an instant response to the tragic death of a local Frome College teacher by carrying out a series of night-time speeds checks close to the area of the road accident that saw a woman and her unborn child both killed on the A36 near to Standerwick. 

Ashley Reay from the Mendip CSW team was invited to attend as an observer and he reports that the results were appalling. The new night-time speed checking equipment can record vehicle speeds up to 500 metres away from the police vehicle.  

“Figures close to 100 were recorded as exceeding the speed limits and all of these will be prosecuted,” said Ashley. “It beggars belief what I witnessed in dark, rainy conditions and many motorists observed were travelling at nearly 50% above the posted speed limits.

“The new night-time equipment is here to stay and was extensively used within Mendip and Avon and Somerset during the festive season and will be used in 2019, so the speeding driver needs to know that there is now even more chance of being detected for excess speeds. There is now simply very little chance of escaping should a motorist choose to speed.”

Frome became the first town to use new state-of-the-art nighttime speed recording equipment, from 20th December.

The system, known as Orpheus will clearly show all details of vehicles in the dark and has a  range in excess of 500 metres, in either direction of travel. The Home Office-approved equipment has been extensively trialled previously, also in the Frome area, which showed a need for extra speed checks within the hours of darkness.

Ashley Reay, from Mendip  Community Speed Watch, said that the number of motorists recorded in the Frome area at high speeds shows little signs of reducing, hence the requirement for extra checks. He said the local magistrates courts have been imposing heavy fines and disqualifications on motorists caught speeding at Berkley School where those recorded at 50 mph in the 30 mph zone experienced 6 penalty points on their licences, plus fines. While those at around 55 mph were all subject to disqualification plus fines and court costs.

Ashley Reay said, “There can be no doubt that these excessive speeds are one of the  main contributors to accidents and deaths on the roads and those thinking that speed enforcement simply works from 9-5 are about to have a rude awakening as speed checks will continue into the New Year and well into the hours of darkness, so the message is slow down and be safe.”

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