Hastings Direct news: driving offences
A big theme in this week's news round-up is driving offences. The first story reveals that thousands of UK drivers have been caught speeding over 100mph. Meanwhile, a survey finding out what infuriates drivers trying to park discovered hospital parking fees was the greatest annoyance. Driving offences came up in the news for a second time this week with the release of figures showing arrests for drug-driving had increased by a whopping 800%. And the week ended with the news that Scotland had reached a record high for the number of cars on its roads.
Police catch thousands of drivers going over 100mph
A Freedom of Information request from BBC Radio 5 Live revealed 2,169 drivers were caught going over 100mph in the last year.
The BBC requested details on the number of offences police recorded where a motorist was caught going more than 100mph by either a speed camera or from an officer's speed radar during the financial year of 2014–2015. It also asked about the maximum speed, location and make and model of the vehicle involved in the offence.
Figures were provided by 42 out of 45 police forces in the UK, with only Greater Manchester, Kent and Thames Valley not supplying any information.
A BMW M4 Coupe on the A1(M) in Cambridgeshire had the highest recorded speed at 156mph. Other high speeds included a Mercedes C200 on the M1 in Hertfordshire doing 155mph and a Jaguar on the M4 in Gloucestershire doing 144mph.
Hospital parking fees the biggest annoyance for drivers
An RAC survey found hospital parking fees in England were the most infuriating for drivers looking to park.
Nearly two thirds (64%) of respondents found hospital parking the most unwelcome fee.
Of those surveyed, nearly half (48%) want the Government to follow in the footsteps of Scotland and Wales and scrap hospital parking fees in England.
The second least favourite fees cited by the 1,217 drivers surveyed were charges at supermarkets, shopping centres and other private car parks (12%).
Other unwelcome charges included on-street parking in town centres (8%), residential parking permits (7%) and parking at railway stations (4%).
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "Making hospital parking in England free would mean funds for operating and maintaining car parks would need to be found from other areas of hospital budgets which could potentially have unwelcome consequences for healthcare delivery."
However, Williams added: "At the very least, every hospital should be conforming to the car parking principles set out by the NHS."
Arrests for drug-driving increase by 800%
Initial police force figures reveal a substantial increase in the number of drug-drive arrests since the introduction of new laws in England and Wales last year.
Figures from Cheshire Police released by the Government show the force's drug-driving arrests increased by 800%, with more than 530 arrests between March 2015 and January 2016, up from 70 in the previous year.
Under the new drug-drive law, it is illegal to drive with 17 controlled drugs above a specified limit in the blood. Driving while impaired by any drug at any amount remains an offence.
A roadside swab test which checks for cannabis and cocaine was introduced through the new legislation. The law also covers additional testing at a police station.
Road safety minister Andrew Jones said: "Thanks to our tougher law, police are catching and convicting more dangerous drivers.
"The Government will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with police as they work tirelessly to protect the public while recognising enforcement alone is not the answer."
Scotland hits record high for number of cars on the road
According to official figures, there are now more cars on the roads in Scotland than ever before.
The RAC reports this has prompted calls from environmental campaigners for the Scottish Government to introduce congestion charges, 20mph zones and investment in cycling and walking as initiatives to curb car use.
In 2014, a record 2.8 million vehicles were licensed in Scotland, the data revealed. New vehicle registrations increased by 9% from 2013, up to 262,000 registrations, and the amount of kilometres accumulated by vehicles grew by 2%, reaching 45 billion kilometres.
Friends of the Earth Scotland's Emilia Hanna is calling for the Government to spend 10% of the transport budget on walking and cycling by 2020. She said Scotland is "motoring towards more air pollution and climate change."
Transport minister David Mackay said more than £1bn is being spent per year on initiatives aimed at encouraging people to leave their cars at home.
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