Staggering number of drivers caught breaking 20mph speed limit in North Wales

Latest speeding figures show the 20mph honeymoon period for drivers in North Wales is well and truly over. In April, 660 motorists in the region were clocked breaking the speed limit in 20mph zones.

One driver was caught driving at 51mph, higher than any other previously reported figure in Wales. However, offence data for Mid & South Wales show this speed was soon overshadowed by another Welsh motorist: in April, they were clocked at an astonishing 70mph, three-and-a-half times over the limit.

Controversy continues to dog the Welsh Government’s decision to lower the speed limit for built-up areas from 30mph to 20mph. Later this month, a record-breaking petition calling for the scheme to be scrapped will be debated in the Senedd (Welsh Parliament).

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From March 18, 2024, greater enforcement of 20mph roads was rolled out by GoSafe, the Welsh road safety partnership. By the end of the month, just eight people in North Wales had been caught exceeding 25mph, the limit over which drivers face prosecution.

Until this point, no speed checks on new 20mph roads had been carried out in North Wales. In contrast, speed monitoring in Mid and South Wales has been ongoing since November 2023.

The April figure for North Wales, showing 660 offences, is larger than any monthly total for Mid and South Wales combined. Here, offences peaked in March when 514 drivers broke 20mph limits, falling to 491 offences in April. Across Wales, 2,100 motorists have been caught breaking 20mph limits since January.

Monitoring by GoSafe officers in North Wales shows that the average speed of offenders was 30.1mph. This was up from March, when speeds averaged 28.8mph, though the sample size was much smaller. North Wales Live has a WhatsApp community group where you can get the latest stories delivered straight to your phone

Speeding drivers are still being offered roadside advice through GoSafe’s Operation Ugain teams, and this will continue through 2024. Where offenders decline engagement, they are prosecuted. A separate breakdown of prosecution figures is not being provided by GoSafe.

Since last September just over a third of roads in Wales have had a default 20mph limit. Last month, following a backlash, transport secretary Ken Skates pledged to ease the guidance for exemptions in the expectation that many more roads could revert to 30mph later this year.

A petition calling for the £34m policy to be rescinded was backed by nearly half a million signatures. The Welsh Conservatives are still pressing their case, despite claims such a move would “bankrupt” the country, and the issue will be formally debated in the Senedd on May 22.

Natasha Asghar, shadow transport minister, said: “Labour’s barmy blanket 20mph speed limit is sadly here to stay. Regardless of Labour’s recent PR tour claiming things will change it is apparent that nothing will change.” Sign up for the North Wales Live newsletter sent twice daily to your inbox

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