NEW Government data shows that a record number of motorists were convicted of speeding offences in Avon and Somerset last year.

Figures from the Ministry of Justice show 10,566 motorists caught by Avon and Somerset Constabulary were convicted in courts for speeding offences in 2022 – up 61% from 6,578 convictions the year before and the highest since comparable records began in 2014.

Overall, 50% of the 21,251 motorists in Avon and Somerset who had court proceedings for speeding ended up being convicted of the offence.

This increase in convictions is alarming. The RAC Foundation says that the rise in convictions makes for "grim reading", since speeding plays a part in traffic collisions and fatal incidents.

Most residents caught speeding are given a £100 fine and either penalty points or invited to participate in a retraining course.

However, in cases that involve serious incidents, fines can reach a maximum of £2,500, especially for speeding on a motorway.

RAC road safety spokesperson, Simon Williams, said: "The fact the number of court convictions has risen in just a year seems to imply an increase in the proportion of serious cases having to be dealt with in legal proceedings.

"While it is clearly wrong to be just a few miles an hour over the limit, arguably it is prolific excessive speeders who are putting people’s lives in danger. An increase in these drivers will have frightening consequences for the safety of our roads."

These figures are reflected nationally. Across England and Wales, 236,480 motorists were convicted in court for exceeding the speed limit in 2022. It was a 16% rise from 203,545 the year prior and was the highest since at least 2014.

Nicholas Mantel, head of Churchill Motor Insurance, said: "Speeding is one of the main causes of road accidents and our research suggests that the problem is getting worse.

"Many drivers accidentally creep above the limit rather than speeding deliberately.

"While most people receive a fixed penalty notice for speeding, more serious or contested cases end up in court. This data shows that drivers who appear in court for speeding are usually convicted, and the fines are deservedly steep."

Avon and Somerset Police were contacted for a comment.