A Wiltshire stretch of the M4 motorway has become the first in the UK to fall under the permanent gaze of the speed camera. Drivers exceeding 78mph between junctions 14 and 18 of the M4 can now be caught and fined £60 and three penalty points at any one of seven locations, by mobile speed-camera vans positioned on bridges. The move follows the refunding of 5000 speeding fines, incurred on the A303 in Wiltshire, reimbursed because of insufficient notification of temporary speed limits. The Wiltshire and Swindon Safety Camera Partnership defends its decision to site the cameras on safety grounds.
Reaction to the move has been angry. Road safety group Safe Speed’s Paul Smith insisted ‘they will not work to improve road safety. After £700m of speed camera fines we’ve seen no improvement in road fatalities.’
The Association of British Drivers’ Nigel Humphries said ‘a motorway is one big gravy train for camera partnerships.’
The WSSCP was formed in April 2002, a year in which 43 people were killed on Wiltshire roads. In 2003, the figure rose to 49 and in 2004, when the WSSCP made a £1.1m profit, the death toll was 61, according to the ABD