Twitter account monitoring speed on B3078 Roger Penny Way scrapped amid claims drivers were deliberately 'trying to get highest speed'
A MAN was forced to disable a Twitter account he had set up to reveal driving speeds at a New Forest animal accident black spot after claims motorists were competing to be the fastest.
The account, set up by Andy Paddock, used Google traffic data to tweet automatically how quickly drivers were going on the notorious B3078 Roger Penny Way, near Fritham, which has a limit of 40mph.
But by Tuesday, Mr Paddock told the A&T he had been forced to temporarily turn off the account, @NewForestOver40, because of concerns about speeding.
He explained: “Temporarily turning the posts off as there is some talk of people trying to get the highest speed recorded.
“I’m amazed how stupid people can be but then, as my old troop sergeant used to say, ‘You can’t educate pork’.”
Before being disabled, the account posted a string of tweets suggesting drivers using the route were regularly travelling at more than 50mph.
Mr Paddock, from Salisbury, set up the account based on a computer programme built by UK resident Gareth Reece. He had written about it online and urged others concerned by speeding to do the same.
Mr Reece had used the technology to track speeds outside his daughter’s school, and Mr Paddock said he focused on Roger Penny Way as an experiment after seeing news articles about accidents.
As reported in the A&T, there is a live petition to New Forest District Council, lodged on the authority’s website, calling for average speed cameras on the route.
It runs until 15th September and has so far been signed by 2,466 people.
NFDC leader Cllr Edward Heron has pledged the council will “consider the motion” and, if it agrees, lobby the chief constable and police and crime commissioner.
Hampshire police confirmed to the A&T that the possibility of installing a traffic camera on the route had been discussed with the Verderers’ Court and NFDC.
Korine Bishop, rural policing inspector, added: “This is an ongoing discussion, but there is currently no policing justification or funding opportunities to support this at this time.
“Previously we have worked in partnership with key partners including national park authority, forest rangers and Commoners Defence Association to raise awareness of animals killed by collisions in the New Forest area.
“There are also a number of Community Speedwatch groups, which operate using equipment supplied by New Forest District Council, and is focused on education and a visible presence in the area, allowing for the gathering of evidence of offending which may lead to consideration of enforcement action.”
Insp. Bishop said the force was aware of data monitoring along the route, adding there have been “a number of high-profile incidents which have been reported and are currently under investigation by Hampshire Constabulary”.
She added: “This is a timely reminder to local residents, and those visiting the area, that there is a speed limit in many of the New Forest areas for a reason – and it is exactly that, a limit – not a target.
“Ponies, horses and other wild animals cross these roads day and night and it is well signposted in these high-risk areas.”