'If you saw what I saw...' - Yorkshire traffic officer busts five common speeding myths

A Yorkshire police force has revealed five of the most common myths about speeding - and the truth behind them - in a bid to make motorists drive more safely.

With better weather leading to busier roads, the number of fatal and serious injury collisions in North Yorkshire typically increases at this time of year.

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'If you saw what I saw...' will initially focus on excessive speed but will continue throughout 2018 to try to educate road users about a range of issues, from drink and drug driving to using a mobile phone, to motorcycle safety.

Inspector Dave Barf, who works in roads policing, said: "The effects of high-speed crashes on the human body are absolutely horrendous.

"I can tell you this because our teams and other emergency services witness them, close up and first hand, when they arrive at the scene of every fatal or serious injury collision.

"But that’s not where the aftermath ends. Every officer who’s had to visit the next of kin to share the devastating news that their loved one is dead remembers every moment of it."

"If I had one chance to persuade you to stick to the speed limit, I’d simply say this: If you saw what I saw, you would never speed," he added.

"You’d give yourself a chance to stop. You only get one life. We want to make sure it doesn’t end on our county’s roads."


The five myths officers and police staff in North Yorkshire commonly hear about speeding are:

1. Speed doesn’t kill people, bad driving does

Insp Barf said: "Many factors contribute to the collisions we investigate. Speed is one of them. Higher speed is directly linked to the chance of fatalities. If you’re going more slowly there’s more margin for error and more chance you’ll survive."

2. Speeding isn't a "real" crime

"Try telling that to families of people killed on our roads," said Insp Barf. "We support them after their lives have been shattered by speed-related collisions. They think speeding is a real crime, and so do we."

3. Going a few miles per hour over the speed limit doesn’t really matter

Insp Barf said: "If you hit a pedestrian at 35 mph, you’re twice as likely to kill them as at 30mph. That’s a massive difference to cut seconds off your journey." (Source: Kill Your Speed campaign)

4. If I’m caught speeding, I can always just take a speed awareness course to keep my licence clean

Insp Barf said: "Speed awareness courses are offered to some motorists as an alternative to points. Feedback shows they do change attitudes towards speed. However, not everyone is eligible, so motorists can check our website for more details."

5. The police only target speeding drivers because they’re a “cash cow”

"We target speeding drivers because we have to gather body parts from the carriageway at fatal crashes and break life-changing news to families," said Insp Barf.

"You’ll never have to experience those things. But we do. We target speeding drivers because we know the next casualty could be you – even if you don’t want to believe it."