Road Safety News

Europe’s police forces gear up for ‘speed marathon’

Tuesday 18th April 2017

Police forces across Europe are preparing to take part in a 24-hour ‘speed marathon’, which has become the focal point of TISPOL’s annual week-long speed enforcement campaign.

The European traffic police network’s week of speed enforcement activity will take place 17-23 April, with the 2017 marathon running from 6am on 19 April until 6am on 20 April.

The ‘speed marathon’ concept was devised three years ago in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Here, members of the public have this year once again been invited to nominate the locations where they would like speed enforcement activities to take place.

The concept has been enthusiastically embraced by police forces across Europe and this year is scheduled to be held in all TISPOL member countries.

During the 2016 marathon some 2,463,622 vehicle speeds were checked across 12,706 control points in 22 countries.

A total of 122,508 offences were detected, meaning that 95% of drivers observed by police officers during the 24 hours were using legal speeds.

Last year’s campaign focused on prevention by persuading drivers to think about the risks associated with illegal and/or inappropriate speed.

For 2017, TISPOL is encouraging participating police forces to publish in advance information about the precise locations of speed checkpoints. More details about the campaign will be published by TISPOL in the run up to the event.

Paolo Cestra, TISPOL president, said: “Our forthcoming speed enforcement activity is all about prevention. We want drivers to think about the speeds they choose; speeds which are both legal and appropriate for the conditions. By doing so, they will be reducing the risks they face and the risks they pose to other road users.

“That’s why we encourage participating countries and police forces to publish information about the precise locations of speed checkpoints in advance. We want to get into the minds of drivers, not their purses.

“Illegal and/or inappropriate speed is the single biggest factor fatal road collisions. That’s why police officers take action against drivers who fail to comply with speed limits. The 24-hour speed marathon is one component in our strategy for reducing casualties, and making Europe’s roads safer.”

Related stories

‘Marathon’ enforcement campaign tackles Europe’s speeding drivers
19 April 2016

WHO asks drivers to slow down for Global Road Safety Week
10 March 2017



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Please do not be mistaken into thinking that because speeding is not identified as a contributory factor that it is not an issue. Read the collision reports and you will see that speed is most certainly a factor! In my experience there is a reluctance to record 306 as a contributory factor by many police officers.
Ian, Sheffield

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

Actually exceeding the speed limit is as you say a contributory factor in only a minority of incidents. Inconsiderate, unnecessary speeding or the use of excessive or inappropriate speed is shown as a factor, if only a contributory factor, in the vast majority of incidents. Even 5 mph could contribute to a collision. Two parked and unused vehicles would or should not collide but if one starts to move towards the other then we may have a collision.

When vehicles are in use on a road, no matter what speed they are doing and they come into close proximity to others then there is greater chance of a collision occurring due not only to their respective speeds but to insufficient safe space not being given sufficient priority.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)

As has been mentioned before on this forum, the 'official' statistics showing causation factors of collisions are unreliable. It is almost impossible to evaluate the approach speeds of vehicles seconds before a collision.
Static Englishman

Agree (5) | Disagree (2)

Long term UK Gov statistics show clearly that excessive speed / Exceeding The Speed Limit is only the primary factor in fewer than 5% of RTCs. The resources allocated to this tiny number is disproportionate and clearly not the solution to reducing the other 95% of RTCs.
Wandering Dutchman UK

Agree (4) | Disagree (5)

You've just described a GATSO camera Bob i.e. the two photos, a fixed time interval apart triggered by radar etc. - whether that would be an acceptable method for obtaining evidence for tailgating on the other hand, is another matter. It is something that is subjective though and the idea of what is too close will vary from police officer to police officer anyway.

As your typical serial speeder also commits other offences which are unfortunately not so easy to detect and prosecute automatically, console yourself with the thought that the habitual tailgater will eventually get snapped by the technology designed to detect their other offence of choice - speeding!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (3)

Hugh...What I am talking about is an actual camera type device that can be preset and it takes two pictures within a space of seconds and calculates the actual speeds and distances between the lead vehicle picture 1. and the following tailgating vehicle.picture 2.

Would that not be a useful tool for our police. Just like a hand held or static speed camera but more sophisticated.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

Do you mean like er...a video camera Bob (and Robert)? They have been used for some time by the Police to obtain video evidence and which is acceptable in Court. Also, with the greater encouragement by the police of the use by motorists of dashcams for evidence as well, the situation can only get better.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)

Robert. This is a point I made yesterday but it wasn't necessary to published because you beat me to it. Without the where with all to capture evidence on film of tailgaters one has to rely on a police officers considerations that the offender could not stop withing the distance seen to be clear. Either that or he was actually involved in rear ending another vehicle and therefore was considered to be too close to stop in time.

Without factual and concrete evidence the PCP could not guarantee a conviction in the courts and as such it would would be doubtful that they would take it to court. If however as Robert says there was such a device in the hands of the police and approved by the DVLC or courts then would it be used and have any effect.

Say 'agree' if you think it would be useful if such a device came into use or say 'disagree' if you think not. Easy poll.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)

I believe that the reason that police prioritise catching 'speeders' is that it is easy to do, there is technical help, and it can all be done automatically by cameras. In contrast offences which are just as dangerous as 'speeding' or even more so, like driving under the influence, using a phone, tailgating, etc are not so easy to catch, so the police don't bother so much with them, preferring to take the easy route with 'speeders'
Robert Bolt St Albans

Agree (6) | Disagree (8)

Yes Bob, obviously one can see the lights of other vehicles which would indicate at a glance how many vehicles are around, but that's only part of the story - it's what you can't see up ahead when it's dark until it's too late to stop e.g. the vehicle without lights stopped on the c/way; inebriated peds trying to find their way home; animals; debris etc - all unexpected obstacles that we need to be able to see in advance and be able to stop in time, which is obviously much harder in the dark and is why our speed, as ever, is very relevant. This applies to any road at night, not just main routes. Because it's night and 'no-one else is around' does not excuse risk-taking and illegal speeds.
Hugh Jones,

Agree (7) | Disagree (5)

Hugh just pop on any motorway at night and you will know that its busy or quiet.

I was merely trying to make the point about the danger of tailgating which in this instance nearly costs a woman her life and of the more obvious and more dangerous and atrocious offence on a quiet main road of someone exceeding the speed limit.

Our minds and in particular the minds of those in authority, those who can do something about it, have over the years been wired up to believe that speed, speed, speed is the greatest danger of all and have totally disregarded the part that unsafe space plays.

If we want to stop unnecessary collision and the damage and injury that ensues we must look at matters other than just speeding. I am glad that you agree that tailgating is as bad as speeding but I would say its worse than speeding as it appears to be more acceptable and therefore common place and doesn't require the speed to be over the limit.

Any day, any place, any where, one can see it on our roads and if we become oblivious to it its because its been allowed to become commonplace but it should be addressed as its a causation or contributory factor of many collisions.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (14) | Disagree (3)

I take your point Bob and I agree that tailgating is as bad as speeding, but I would point out that at night it's dark (even in Australia) so speeds should be a lot less at night, not more, even if it is a quiet road, so a driver doing 100kph deserves a heavy penalty. How could a driver know in advance it was a 'quiet road' anyway?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (10)

95% of drivers were driving at legal speeds.... But how many were tailgating? The stats for that are not know even though it may have been obvious to the reporting officers. By my own experience something like 30% plus are breaking the law by not being able to guarantee stopping in the distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front.

This is an important road safety concern all over Europe. It's more than just an offence, it's driving in a manner dangerous not only to themselves but all other road users.

On Australian TV recently a HGV crashed into the rear of a saloon car and pushed it under the rear of another HGV. The vehicle was a total right off and the driver escaped injury or death by just two inches. The driver of the offending HGV was fined for driving too close and his penalty was just $179. He could have killed someone. On the other hand a driver was caught doing over 100 kph in an 80 limit. This was on a quiet main arterial road at night. He was fined over $500 and banned for 6 months.

This to me just shows how the establishment feel about road safety and how wrong or misguided they are.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (16) | Disagree (4)