Road safety charity Brake has welcomed news that the number of speed cameras is expected to rise.
Fleets had been led to believe that enforcement cameras, managed by local road safety partnerships, were being switched off due to Government funding cuts.
But reports of their demise has proved premature after more than half of the country’s road safety partnerships declared they were installing new digital cameras to replace aging film devices, with numbers set to increase by nearly 50% in the next 12 months.
Brake called the move a positive step for safety.
“Although speed cameras are labelled by some people as money-making devices, they only result in fines for drivers who break the speed limit,” said Roz Cumming, development manager at Brake. “The answer is simple: don’t speed and you won’t get caught.”
Of the 33 partnerships which responded to inquiries from the Daily Telegraph, 21 confirmed they were embarking on a renewal programme over the next two to five years, while another six were considering their next move.
Unlike older machines, digital cameras never run out of film and their running costs are lower, as police officers are not needed to collect and develop the film.
The information is sent automatically to a control centre after which, once the car has been identified from its number plate, a notice of intended prosecution can be sent out.
Four partnerships – Cheshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, Northants and Nottinghamshire – said they expected the number of prosecutions to increase, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The camera programme appears to have been rescued by the spread of speed awareness tests, which have been attended by 1.8 million motorists since January 2010.
While speeding fines, which were paid by just under 1 million drivers in England and Wales in 2010, go to the Treasury, fees for speed awareness courses are retained by police forces and safety partnerships.
However, the overwhelming majority of fleets do not believe enforcement cameras benefit road safety, according to a Fleet News poll. Only 17.5% of respondents thought speed cameras were beneficial to road safety, contradicting the results of the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ annual speed camera survey.
The IAM survey reported that 85% of respondents believed speed cameras had contributed to the fall in road deaths since 1990s.
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