THE NUMBER of drivers caught exceeding Wales' 20mph speed limits increased once again in May as monitoring continues throughout the country.

The majority of residential roads throughout Wales changed from being 30mph to 20mph last September.

This was, according to the Welsh Government, to help 'save lives'.

But, the move has been heavily criticised by members of the public, politicians and more since it was introduced.

An 'engagement process' was launched in January of this year between North Wales Police, GoSafe and other relevant authorities to ensure drivers were sticking to the new limit.

Operation Ugain was launched in January of this year and 272 drivers were found to be exceeding the speed limit, with two prosecuted.

During February, 460 more drivers were caught exceeding the 20mph speed limit out of the 14,874 vehicles that were monitored up - and seven of those drivers were prosecuted.

In March, of the 24,714 vehicles monitored, 655 drivers were found to be exceeding the 20mph speed limit with six drivers prosecuted as a result. 

The figures for April showed that, out of the 36,510 vehicles that were monitored, 1,057 were found exceeding the limit. This lead to seven people being prosecuted and 1,050 attending engagement sessions.

GoSafe has now released its figures for last month (May) and they have risen once more.

That month, 39,552 drivers were monitored - the highest figure so far this year.

1,352 of them were found to be exceeding the 20mph speed limit with six people prosecuted and the rest opting to take part in an engagement session instead.

Operation Ugain is a scheme funded by the Welsh Government, and run in partnership between Wales' four police forces, and three fire and rescue services as well as GoSafe and councils.

The scheme launched on January 8 and means drivers who have been caught exceeding 26mph in areas covered by the 20mph speed limit, are mostly spoken to and shown a presentation, rather than being fined or prosecuted.

A statement from GoSafe reads: "GoSafe, Welsh Police Forces, and Welsh Fire and Rescue Services, are focused on engaging with communities in areas where the speed limit has changed from 30mph to 20mph. The aim is to help drivers adjust to the change.

"Operation Ugain uses speed monitoring equipment to identify people travelling over the speed limit, before police officers stop the vehicle and give the driver a choice between roadside engagement or points and a fine.

"While drivers will be offered the free engagement as an alternative, they can refuse, which will then result in prosecution. For those exceeding the speed limit to a greater degree, they will not be eligible for an engagement session and will be prosecuted.

"If drivers choose the engagement, The Welsh Fire and Rescue Services will deliver a free presentation that lasts approximately 10 minutes. It aims to inform people on the change in default speed limit, the reasons behind the change, and how they can identify the roads it applies to."

The figures for May mean that 3,796 drivers have been caught exceeding the 20mph speed limit in Wales since January.