Speed cameras are there to prevent accidents and keep the roads safer. That is, if you believe the official line from the government and the police.
Ask any motorist who’s received a letter from the constabulary notifying them of three penalty points on their license after being caught by a lurking roadside ‘Talivan’, and they’re likely to say otherwise.
In fact, according to a bit of research from Gocompare.com, 77% of drivers are of the opinion that speed cameras are convenient money-spinners, existing only to swell the coffers of the local fuzz.
In addition, under half of 1,400 drivers quizzed were convinced that speed cameras prevented accidents, while a third said that they slowed down when they saw a speed camera, only to then speed back up again when it had passed.
One of the most hated aspects of getting a ticket is that the expense doesn’t end with a fine – as Scott Kelly, head of motor at Gocompare.com, explains: “The financial impact of being caught speeding can be severe. As well as the fine, an endorsement on your license can also lead to increased car insurance premiums.”
He continues: “In one example we found that having three points on your licence for a speeding offence could raise insurance premiums by £286. In the worst case a driving ban may mean you’re unable to maintain your usual way of life, especially if you rely on your car to get to work or your occupation involves being able to drive. However, if you regularly speed you should probably consider yourself lucky if all you get as a result are penalty points and a fine.”
One option that drivers definitely shouldn’t consider is passing on their speeding points to a friend or relative – as demonstrated by the rather grubby Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce saga, which saw the former MP and his ex-wife convicted of perverting the course of justice.
Speed cameras were first introduced in the UK in 1992 and have been estimated to raise around £100m in fines each year.
Earlier this month, West Midlands Police Force announced its decision to scrap 304 fixed speeding cameras in the area, citing the cost of upgrading them as the cause for their removal.