ALMOST 81,000 drivers were caught violating road safety laws by North Yorkshire Police’s safety camera vans last year.

A new report from Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said the vans - which cost £2.2m to run and were labelled the force’s “single greatest underachievement of income” by accountants - had reduced the number of casualties on the region’s roads.

The latest report - available online - showed the site where the most offences happened was the westbound carriageway of the A64 at Whitwell Hill (4,686), while the region with the most was Hambleton, where the vans caught 17,706 offenders, and the region with the fewest was Scarborough, where the vans caught 3,689 offenders.

In total, the vans recorded 80,582 road safety violations at 448 different sites over more than 13,885 hours - the equivalent of 5.8 for every hour they were in operation.

As previously reported by The Press, the force had six vans at the start of 2017, which doubled to 12 plus one motorcycle by the end of the year.

However delays to the timescale meant recharges generated by them - where drivers paid for speed awareness courses - were £2.1 million less than forecast, leading to criticism in this year’s accounts. The number of people killed or seriously injured on the region’s roads in 2017 was 57 (five deaths, 52 injuries), down from 77 the previous year (10 deaths, 67 injuries), and the lowest since 2011, when seven people were killed and 49 injured.

Mrs Mulligan said: “Not all of that is down to safety camera vans, but we do know they are life-savers, literally. Independent research from Newcastle University shows an estimated 20 per cent reduction in casualties are specifically down to the presence of mobile safety camera vans. Despite that,I know some people remain suspicious of them, and the police’s motive in using them due to the money they generate. To address these myths head on, my report explains how safety cameras were used in 2017, the numbers of violations reported, and the finances associated with the vans. The information and data included in the report shows that more was spent on running the vans than was recouped, but given their crucial role, I believe this is a good investment in achieving safer roads and fewer deaths and serious injuries.”

The full report can be read at