More than 10,000 drivers caught speeding in A14 roadworks

More than 10,000 motorists have been caught speeding through the A14 roadworks near Kettering since work began in January
More than 10,000 motorists have been caught speeding through the A14 roadworks near Kettering since work began in January
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An astonishing 10,500 motorists have been caught speeding through the A14 roadworks near Kettering since work began in January.

The top speed recorded was 94mph – 54mph above the 40mph temporary limit between Junctions 7 and 9.

Inspector Jen Helm from Northants Police

Inspector Jen Helm from Northants Police

Average speed cameras recorded the BMW driver doing more than double the speed limit in July.

The cameras have been installed by contractors working on the road widening project to help keep workers safe and enforce the speed limit.

They were put up on the eastbound carriageway in late January and, between then and the end of August, there were about 52 drivers caught each day, amounting to a total of 10,497.

The total amount of cash raised through fines, which go directly to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, was £223,500.

Northamptonshire Police are responsible for administering the enforcement of fines and prosecution of speeders.

Their figures, released to the Northamptonshire Telegraph following a Freedom of Information request, showed that the 20 fastest mostorists were all caught driving above 70mph.

The month when most speeders were caught was February, when 1,914 were caught breaking the law.

Insp Jen Helm, who is reponsible for the county’s road network, said: “The only things between the road workers and the traffic are plastic cones.

“We have some highly trained, advanced drivers in our police force and they sometimes get tickets when they are driving in emergency situations on the A14.

“Those tickets are reviewed by me, and we haven’t had any doing that kind of speed [94mph].

“If you hit someone at 40mph you’re already starting to really restrict the survival rate of the casualty.

“At 94mph there is virtually no chance of survival.”

Average speed cameras are often installed on major road projects by construction firms which are keen to ensure the safety of their workers, and as part of their insurance conditions.

People caught going just over the limit are usually given the chance to take a speed awareness course, which they can take anywhere in the country. If they choose to take it in Northamptonshire then a proportion of the fee they pay goes to Northamptonshire Police’s safer roads team, but it can only be spent on specific projects to help make roads safer.

Those caught going faster are given fines and points on their licence with the fine going straight to the court. People caught doing excessive speed will be prosecuted in court.

Insp Helm added: “Although we don’t get the revenue from the fines, if there is a serious road accident where people are killed or seriously injured, it can cost more than £1m for all the services involved in dealing with that so we’d much rather be responsible for administering the fines than for going to road accidents.”

Insp Helm said she believed the figures were so high because people had become complacent about driving through roadworks.

She said: “They become blase about things they see every day.

“It’s quite a low speed limit and a road they’re maybe used to driving on more quickly.

“They maybe don’t think the cameras are on or think they’re there for a different purpose. But they are on and they are on all the time.

“You do encounter drivers with the mentality that they can just pay a fine.

“But if you’re in a rush then remember that if you are travelling at these speeds then it’s not just a fine and a couple of points. You risk prosecution for dangerous driving. It can be life-changing.”

A spokesman for the Highways Agency, which is managing the improvements, said: “Safety is our top priority and the 40mph limit is there for the safety of road users as well as roadworkers on the scheme, which will ultimately bring extra carriageway capacity and improved journey times on the A14 between Junctions 7 and 9.

“The reduced speed limit, which will be in place until the scheme is complete, will also cut the risk of accidents within the roadworks which can not only cost lives, but can also cause hours of delays for other road users.

“We don’t want people to get a speeding ticket or a ban. We want to get them safely through the roadworks, and at the same time ensure our staff and contractors can work without worrying about speeding drivers careering into areas where there may be heavy plant, deep excavations and more importantly roadworkers trying to do their jobs.

“We understand people’s frustration but do urge them to please be patient.”

Between 2009 and 2013, eight road workers died and 317 were injured while working on or near motorways and major A roads in England.

In 2013 the numbers reached their lowest level with no fatalities and 30 injuries.

Work to continue until spring 2015

The work to widen the A14 began at the end of 2013 after years of misery for motorists caught in jams at the bottleneck.

The Highways Agency announced in November 2011 that funding for the £42m project had been secured.

When it is finished next year there will be an extra lane in each direction between Junction 7 at the A43 and Junction 9 at the A509.

It was considered important to widen the A14 because it connects the M1 and M6 motorways with the A1, the M11 and the east coast ports near Felixstowe.

The section around Kettering has historically suffered from congestion and poor journey times and, given the Government’s Growth Agenda to develop 40,500 homes in the area, it is considered urgent that the road is improved.

The eastbound carriageway works are now almost complete and work on the second phase of the scheme, the westbound carriageway, is about to begin.

This is expected to last until spring 2015 when the road will fully re-open with six lanes. A 40mph limit will remain in place until the end of the works.

The number of vehicles caught by average speed cameras between Junctions 7 and 9 of the A14 since the end of January this year

January – 188

February – 1,914

March – 1,893

April – 1,702

May – 1,295

June – 1,470

July – 1,149

August (first three weeks) – 886

The 20 fastest speeds recorded through the A14 roadworks since they were set up in January

94mph – BMW, July

79mph – Audi, August

79mph – BMW, June

77mph – Ford, March

77mph – Ford, March

77mph – Vauxhall, February

76mph – Toyota, June

76mph – Mercedes, March

75mph – Kia, April

75mph – Vauxhall, February

74mph – BMW, June

74mph – Peugeot, April

73mph – Subaru, May

73mph – Vauxhall, March

72mph – Land Rover, July

72mph – BMW, July

72mph – Peugeot, March

72mph – Volkswagen, March

71mph – Volkswagen, March

70mph – BMW, June