Use of permanent average speed-cameras doubles in more than three years, research reveals

Posted by Tim Williamson on
Is it me or are average speed cameras popping up all over the place these days?

Motorists would be forgiven for thinking that they can't go on a long journey these days without coming across average speed cameras – and research undertaken by the BBC shows they would be right!

The research reveals that 51 stretches of road are permanently managed by the cameras, covering 263 miles in total - up from a total distance of 127 miles in 2013.  Average speed-cameras – which differ from their traditional counterparts – work by recording the time it takes a vehicle to travel between two positions on the road. Their use will typically be employed during roadworks; however, the research undertaken for the BBC encompasses only those used on a permanent basis. Since 2014, their use as a permanent fixture has been sharply increasing. In 2014, a scheme covering almost 100 miles of the A9 in Scotland was installed - the longest stretch on a single road in the UK. The longest stretch in England is on the A614 Old Rufford Road near Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, which is 12 miles long.  One of the shortest sections is across Tower Bridge in London.  We have noticed that average speed cameras have been used on every stretch of motorway being repaired throughout Hampshire in this time period.

The debate about speed cameras continues at pace. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the rate of accidents is lower on stretches of road where there are average (or fixed) speed cameras.  However in our view cameras are only part of the solution.  Everyone wants to see fewer accidents on our roads.  However, we need to make sure that we invest properly in improving road surfaces, better signage and better engineering and improved visibility at road junctions.  There is a school of thought that says cameras cause people to be distracted and by concentrating on the cameras motorists do not concentrate enough on what is actually going on around them.  Campaigners point out that given the amount of money spent on cameras and the proven percentage reduction in the level of accidents that follows, cameras are actually not good value for money at all.  They question whether cameras should continue to be used.  In our view cameras do have a role to play but they are only part of the solution.

We would remind all drivers that under the Road Traffic legislation:

  • Motorists could face a £100 fixed penalty fine and 3 penalty points added to the driving licence.
  • You could be disqualified from driving for 6 months if you accumulate 12 or more penalty points within a period of 3 years.
  • Your driving licence will be revoked (withdrawn) should you accumulate 6 or more penalty points from the date of passing your driving test (the new driver provisions).
  • Should your speed be sufficiently high to land you in court you could be fined heavily (up to £1000 or £2500 if the offence was committed on a motorway) or banned from driving for the offence.

About the Authors

Tim is a leading Criminal and Regulatory lawyer, who defends businesses and individuals under investigation by the police and regulatory bodies and when accused of criminal offences.

Tim Williamson
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023 8085 7372

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Rory is a Solicitor within the Banking & Finance team based in our Southampton office.

Rory O'Driscoll
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023 8085 7127

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