MP Sammy Wilson slams A8 speed vans

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson
East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson

The PSNI’s Head of Road Policing says the number of mobile safety cameras visiting a section of the A8 is “in line with current policy” after MP Sammy Wilson described their location as a “good revenue raising position for the Road Safety Partnership.”

Chief Inspector Diane Pennington’s response came after a statement by the East Antrim DUP representative, in which he said he was “surprised at how much attention had been given to this area and felt that the reason was that because it was a downhill stretch of road.”

He added that this meant it was “easy for drivers to enter the 40 mph speed limit whilst still driving over 40 mph.”

The elected representative said he had been informed that 341 people have received fines and penalty points for exceeding the speed limit at this location.

“I have had complaints from a number of constituents who feel that the location has been chosen because it is an easy place to target motorists and even though there is not a huge safety issue at this point on the road because of the geography of the area and the proximity of the point where the van usually sits at the 40 mph limit the likelihood of being caught over the speed limit is quite high,” he stated.

“While road safety is an important issue in dealing with people who wantonly disregard speed limits is something which needs to be addressed, it is important that those enforcing the law are not seen to be acting in a way which is more about revenue raising than enforcing good driving practices.”

Responding to Mr Wilson’s Statement, Chief Inspector Pennington said: “Records for the six month period from June to November 2016 show that the Northern Ireland Road Safety Partnership (NIRSP) made 20 visits to this site.

“This is in line with current policy.

“The Partnership is committed to contributing to reducing the number of collisions and casualties on our roads by preventing and detecting speeding offences.

“Speed, or more accurately, excessive speed for the conditions, is consistently the principal single cause of the most serious road traffic collisions in which people are killed or seriously injured on roads across the whole of Northern Ireland.

“Mobile Safety Cameras are used on routes where there is a proven history of collisions resulting in death or serious injury or where there is clear evidence of speeding and very often it is community members themselves who raise concern about the numbers of vehicles driving at excessive speed in a particular area.

“NIRSP along with PSNI District and Road Policing officers visit such sites in areas across all of Northern Ireland regularly to both prevent and detect traffic offences to keep people safe on our roads.

“In 2016, 68 people lost their lives on the roads in Northern Ireland compared with 74 people in 2015.

“Whilst there has been a reduction in the number of deaths, when you consider that many, if not the majority of these collisions could have been avoided, it’s an appalling waste of life.

“The message is quite simple – stop speeding and more people live.”