Many people are complaining about the new digital cameras beginning to appear on motorways; saying that they are there to catch motorists out and hit them with hefty fines rather than help with road safety. Just how crafty are motorway stealth cameras?
So far cameras have been painted yellow so they stand out and drivers are aware of them. However, cameras are now being installed less obviously and are painted grey and therefore much harder to spot. These cameras (Hadecs3) have been mounted onto the M25 in Kent where they have been tested out. Within two months 700 drivers were caught speeding. Of these 700 drivers 520 broke the 70 mph limit and 148 of these drivers broke the variable speed limits of 40 to 60 mph. Some people are calling these cameras 'stealth cameras'. These digital cameras are very smart; positioned at the edges of the gantries on motorways they can scan four lanes at a time and can use front and back cameras to check on speeds. They can change automatically depending on the speed limit of the lanes. Conventional cameras can only track one lane at a time. The Highways Agency are behind all this and want to extend these cameras to other motorways including the M1, M3, M6 and M60.
Fines of up to £100 can be levied against drivers and this is creating the huge buzz around the cameras being a sneaky way of getting more money off motorists. The Highways Agency claim that they are using technology to improve the flow of traffic, enforce the 70mph limit and increase road safety.
However, in the last few days it has been revealed that the company installing these new speed cameras, Redflex Travel Systems Ltd, have been paid £2.1 million out of taxpayer funds. This has caused a great deal of controversy and infuriated critics of the cameras. In 2012-2013 the Government collected £248 million in speeding fines and this adds fuel to the fire.
The Alliance of British Drivers which acts as the voice of motorists said:
"The 70mph limit is not a speed that a lot of people bother to observe any more. It was originally brought in as an experiment and was made permanent without any real testing. It was brought in at a time when the stopping power of cars was a bit like stopping an oil tanker, and the maximum speed of most cars was 74mph. We've moved on now, some 50 years later we have cars that stop much more quickly. The amount of traffic that exceeds the 70mph limit is enormous. Most people are driving at 80mph on motorways, and these are our safest roads in the country."
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