Speed cameras: are attitudes changing?

Ask a motorist what they think of speed cameras and the likelihood is you’ll be met by a frustrated grimace.

To many it seems that the authorities have hidden behind the veil of safety camera partnerships to disguise the ability for these cameras to make money. However, in what may be a surprise, it also seems plenty of drivers in the UK see things differently.

In fact, according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ annual speed camera survey, 82 per cent of people now think it’s acceptable for authorities to use speed cameras, while just 45 per cent are of the opinion that raising income is still the sole purpose of their use.

The study actually shows more people think speed cameras are beneficial to road safety than those who lambast them as money-spinners.

A massive 85 per cent of people said they thought speed cameras have helped contribute towards the falling road death tally since the 1990s.

So it seems attitudes to speed cameras and speeding in general are changing – to the point whereby the majority of people (72 per cent) think that speed awareness courses are a good idea through the knowledge they impart to previously uneducated speeders.

There’s a correlation between speeding and the perceived acceptability of nudging the limit in the home nations too – 32 per cent of Welsh people think cameras aren’t acceptable, while 27 per cent were caught over the limit – or knew someone who had been – within the last three years.

By comparison the figures stood at only 15 and 14 per cent respectively in Scotland and 20 and 19 per cent for English motorists respectively.

The figures also show that speed cameras slow traffic and improve safety in hazardous areas. It only takes a quick glance at the road death stats from the early 1990s through to the present day to show their introduction has helped decrease fatalities.

In fact, 2011’s total of 1,901 fatalities was the first time the death toll rose since 1994.

If you’re not concentrating on your speed then you certainly can’t be processing the information of what’s playing out in front of you.

In that case, a deterrent that makes you slow down and concentrate, such as the speed camera, can only be a good thing.