Last year, 26,102 people were injured, 3,780 seriously, and 125 people were killed on London’s roads. We’re not prepared to accept that any of these deaths or serious injuries are something we should put up with.

Most collisions involve everyday people. People who perhaps didn’t anticipate danger. People who don’t consider 33 in a 30mph zone as speeding. People who forget the great responsibility they have to protect others using the road alongside them.

These 2019 figures are more than just numbers on a spreadsheet. Each of these represents a tragedy experienced by a person’s family, their friends and community. At TfL, we are doing all we can to reduce the unnecessary heartbreak these deaths can bring across our great city.

Last year, speed was a contributory factor in 56% of fatal collisions in London. That is why first and foremost, it’s vital we work in partnership with agencies across the capital every day to tackle speeding from every angle.

We undertake a number of joint activities with our policing partners to reduce speeding on London’s roads. TfL and the Metropolitan Police have publicly committed to increase the number of speed offences processed from 240,000 to c.1 million per annum; an increase of over 300%. We are also working with London’s local authorities to improve our safety camera approach to help crack down on speeding. In May this year, we launched a new process that allows Road Safety Officers to report speeding concerns on borough roads for police attention. In addition, members of the public can submit reports of dangerous behaviour including speeding on our roads to the Metropolitan Police via the ‘report a traffic incident’ section of their website.

The reduction of speed is often a key focus of intelligence-led police operations targeting the riskiest roads, behaviours and drivers in London. In April 2020, the Metropolitan Police formed the Roads Crime Team to specifically focus on the dangerous behaviours that contribute to serious and fatal collisions, as well as priority roads. The team relies on data and intelligence gathered by the Metropolitan Police and TfL to ensure they target the highest risk locations, people and behaviours, including excessive speeds. In the same month, hundreds of officers took part in a considerable uplift of speed enforcement activity in London, carried out on roads proven to have high incidents of speeding by speed survey data. This saw 2,020 Traffic Offence Reports (TORs) issued for speeding by police; an almost 1,000% increase from the previous year (268 TORs). Across the week, within all speed zones 65 vehicles were 100mph or over.

A key intervention run in partnership with the Metropolitan Police, TfL and volunteer members of the community is Community Roadwatch. Community Roadwatch is designed to reduce speed and improve public confidence, giving members of the community the opportunity to be actively involved in deterring motorists from speeding in their local area in London. Sessions are run at community concern locations by Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and supported by local residents who have volunteered to take part. The volunteers use speed guns and note down details of offending vehicles. Any vehicle travelling above National Police Chiefs Council guidelines of 10% +2mph will receive a warning letter from the Metropolitan Police and, if a vehicle is captured speeding at more than two Community Roadwatch sessions in a 12-month period, the driver’s details will also be added to the Automatic Number Plate Recognition System to alert passing officers that the vehicle could be driven by a prolific speeder.

Speeding is a problem that everyone should be tackling collaboratively. TfL, its policing partners, and partnering agencies, are committed to tackling speeding to make London’s road network safer. However, people are still being killed or seriously injured on our roads as a result of excessive speeds. The journey towards achieving our shared ambition of Vision Zero by 2041 will be challenging but it remains a shared priority we’ll continue to work towards with our partners. That’s why we’re calling on everyone on the roads to drive carefully and safely, as the consequences of speeding and driving with distractions are often lethal and heart breaking.

717 Lelia King

Lelia King

Partnership and campaigns manager at Transport for London (TfL).