THOUSANDS of drivers were caught flouting speed limits across Essex in just one year.

Some 2.39 million drivers were caught speeding in England and Wales in 2018/19, the study commissioned by the RAC Foundation found.

This was a 4 per cent increase on the previous 12 months - and a 37 per cent rise compared with 2011/12.

Essex Police handed out 91,849 speeding tickets last year - a decrease of 4 per cent on 2017/18.

In total there were 124,923 motoring offences recorded during the same period, meaning speeding accounted for 74 per cent of the crimes.

Across England and Wales 97 per cent of speeding incidents involved drivers being caught by a camera and in Essex it was slightly lower at 94 per cent.

Across the county 48,329 resulted in the offender being sent on a speed awareness course and 33,330 attracted fixed penalty notices.

A further 6,891 resulted in court action.

The remaining 3,299 were later cancelled.

The data saw Essex ranked eighth for most speeding tickets issued. West Yorkshire was top with 181,867 in 2018/19.

Wiltshire Constabulary finished bottom of the table after it caught only 807 people speeding, having turned off speed cameras in 2010.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We take the safety of all road users extremely seriously and takes a tough stance of those acting dangerously, carelessly or irresponsibly.

“We undertake a range of operations to tackle a wide range of offences on our roads including speeding, drink or drug driving, close passing and the use of mobile phones.

“Speed is a major factor involved in road deaths and serious injury collisions and speed limits are put in place for a number of reasons, but ultimately to keep people safe.

“We will continue to take action against road users who break the law.”

Steve Gooding. RAC Foundation director. said: “The simple rule for drivers who don’t want to risk ending up with a speeding ticket is not to break the limit in the first place.

“Where limits are properly signposted and clearly feel right for the road in question, motorists have no excuse for going faster.

“But that means highway authorities also have a responsibility to make sure the limits they set are appropriate and to avoid instances where the limit repeatedly bounces up and down along a single stretch.”

The analysis of Home Office data was carried out by Adam Snow of Liverpool John Moores University and Doreen Lam of the RAC Foundation.