A more widespread use of average speed cameras has been suggested by the Transport Committee, following cuts to traffic police
Jimi Beckwith
24 March 2016

The Parliamentary Transport Committee has called for the more widespread use of average speed cameras on Britain's roads in order to combat offences which are going undetected due to falling numbers of traffic police. 

Regular speed cameras have always been controversial, drawing criticism from sceptics who say they're more dangerous and environmentally damaging than other speed limit enforcement methods. Critics say the fixed cameras cause drivers to brake sharply when they notice them, and then accelerate once they have passed the camera. 

In its conclusions and recommendations, the committee calls for the greater use of avearge speed cameras which reduce the likelihood of drivers claiming to have been unfairly caught speeding and lessen the environmental impact of sharply decelerating and accelerating cars. 

The committee recently posted figures for its detected motoring offences. The data shows that between 2004 and 2013 the number of recorded offences dropped from 4.3million to 1.6m. The committee was quick to add that this was not due to better-behaved motorists but was the result of the reduced number of traffic police on the road. 

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), feels that alternatives should be considered. "With speed enforcement, the solution should always be a safety-based decision, whether implementing fixed or average speed cameras," he said. "Many roads which are perfectly safe would not benefit from cameras, so there wouldn't be a case for putting cameras there.

"Roads with speeding problems or accident blackspots should be targeted. Average speed cameras are expensive to install, so the money could be better spent on improving signage, lighting and a number of other road safety features. Roads can be re-engineered to be safer, so options and permanent solutions need to be explored, rather than a blanket average speed camera introduction. The merits of average speed cameras are apparent, and their compliance record is promising, but the idea of a blanket introduction to try to control drivers' speeding seems a more extreme solution than the problem warrants."

"The latest figures suggest that speed doesn't account for a large percentage of crashes [16%] - human error is usually more to blame."

The RAC, however, is in support of the proposals. Public affairs manager Nick Lyles said: "Seven in 10 motorists say they regularly or occasionally break the 70mph speed limit, so clearly there is an issue of compliance here. It’s important that the solution to that problem offers a range of alternatives, and average speed cameras can be part of this.

“However, motorists will feel that the enforcement of road traffic law is not only about installing more cameras. The decline in road traffic police officers in recent years has been a worrying trend, with a 23% reduction in England and Wales between 2010 and 2014. The presence of road traffic police officers can also play a big part in improving both safety and compliance, as well as giving motorists a sense that law breakers are not just simply getting away with it.”

 

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Comments
9

24 March 2016
Leeds university had a bike and car running around with a satellite based speed limiter system onboard since the mid 1990's (Motorcycle news rode the bike). It was more or less ready to go to market when the coalition government got in, and pulled the plug on it. Funny how you never hear the charity Brake mention it either. But speed cameras will stop drink/drug drivers or driving the wrong way up the M1 etc. Sorry rant over.

24 March 2016
Aren't the average speed units integrated with the ANPR camera system? As motoring has been reduced to mere transport why do we even allow the sale of 200+ mph cars? Instantaneous speed is really only a factor in the REAL motoring offences, dangerous or careless driving. To be able to speed up to avoid a dangerous situation is often a good thing, then slow down to make a legal average speed. One extra cost will be where a village (30mph) is in a long route like the A380 (60mph), villages need normal speed cameras. I remember when i could drive for half an hour in Cornwall without meeting another car, lovely times long gone, no wonder i sold the Porsche 911S.

RogerHudson

25 March 2016
What a waste as always of tax payers money, £40,000 per camera, 3 per gantry on average, 4 gantries per mile (one set each side), with fitting costs, procurement etc add another £100k per gantry = £880,000 per mile Bet the cost in saved lives per mile is a lot less than that, so it's just about revenue from fines then. Now with pot hole's appearing everywhere on our motorway network, as customers of the system, shouldn't we all expect better from our government.

25 March 2016
What a waste as always of tax payers money, £40,000 per camera, 3 per gantry on average, 4 gantries per mile (one set each side), with fitting costs, procurement etc add another £100k per gantry = £880,000 per mile Bet the cost in saved lives per mile is a lot less than that, so it's just about revenue from fines then. Now with pot hole's appearing everywhere on our motorway network, as customers of the system, shouldn't we all expect better from our government.

25 March 2016
can we have a device which lets us know what our average speed actually is? also, just to chuck my opinion into the hat, i feel this is yet another stupid and expensive idea - but i'm not going to bore you with the rant about things which have happened in my local area.

25 March 2016
What transport committee really should do is increase the speed limit to 80mph and like Autobahns allow unlimited speeds on certain stretches.

26 March 2016
I thought when reported crime in the community went down it proved the effectiveness of new policing policy. Apparently this view is optional dependant on what crimes you are looking at. If less burglary's are reported then that's fine, if less motoring related crime then it must now just be slipping through the net ??? This could only make sense to a politician.

26 March 2016
Having just started doing a lot of M-Way driving,and seeing some of the Driving skills(?) of fellow road users, i can see how ASC would help,but, how to sort it out?,that's the question,maybe a nanny black box with a condescending voice passing comments on your driving?,giving out points doesn't work either,some drivers with 30-40 points STILL can keep there ticket.I think learning needs to be much tougher.longer to get legal,the Police can't do much because they're budget's are cut,less on Patrol and so on.

Peter Cavellini.

29 March 2016
Anyone who has driven on the A9 between just north of Perth, to Inverness, won't fail to notice the average speed cameras for the majority of the journey. They have put these in, but only in conjunction with increasing HGV speed limit from 40mph to 50mph on single carriage ways. The results have been pretty good in my experience. No more do you get idiots making dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, because there are 25 cars travelling behind a lorry doing 38mph. The lorries are going faster, resulting in freer flowing traffic. And when you do get to duel carriage ways, there are fewer incidents of another HGV overtaking.

I would love if they did this on the A1 between Berwick & Morpeth as well.

However, in saying all this, I would like them to be used as a last resort. There are other options (better road designs etc) that should be researched into. And they should only be used in places where there have been a lot of accidents.

Also, what defines an accident should be changed as well. A friend of mine was telling me a story that a new camera was install in an accident blackspot. They need 4 accidents in the same area to make a case for a camera. 1 was genuine, but the other 3 were suicides. Awful though that is, a speed camera would have little affect to 3 of those cases. Redesign the area to protect pedestrians would be a far better idea

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