Fears over 'stealth' speed cameras

Fears over 'stealth' speed cameras

The Highways Agency is to install speed cameras on certain stretches of motorway to enforce the 70mph speed limit and improve the flow of traffic.

Bright yellow speed cameras are commonplace in areas where motorways are under repair, to monitor variable speed limits, but the agency will be targeting those that go faster than 70mph on normal stretches of busy routes such as the M1, M6 and M25.

Already dubbed 'stealth cameras' by critics, the equipment will be grey rather than yellow and situated on 'smart motorways' where the flow of traffic is closely monitored and controlled to prevent congestion.

Some people have expressed fears that the new cameras are being introduced to make money from fines rather than improve safety or cut traffic jams.

It seems likely that many motorists will be caught out as a recent Autocar magazine poll found that 95% admit they drive faster than 70mph on motorways. Not only do people caught for speeding have to pay fines, they may also have to pay more for theircar insurance if they have points on their licence.

The Highways Agency claims the cameras will be more visible than they were before. A spokesman said the smart motorways are designed to improve traffic conditions and increase their capacity.

RAC technical director David Bizley said: "There are no reasons to believe that police forces will alter their enforcement policies with the availability of HADECS3 cameras, but if these cameras were to be used in a more widespread way to enforce the national 70mph limit on motorways then this would reinforce the belief held by a majority of motorists that many speed cameras are more about raising money than they are about improving road safety.

"One of the key concerns about static speed cameras is their potential to create a dangerous 'stop start' driving style caused by motorists suddenly slowing down when they spot them.

"The decision not to paint these new cameras yellow may possibly be influenced by a desire to discourage this 'stop start' behaviour, but there can be no doubt that motorists will soon learn where to expect cameras regardless of their colour."

Copyright Press Association 2014