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Speed cameras

A speed camera and car

Are speed cameras effective in reducing accidents, or are they just there to make money? Gocompare.com presents the results of its survey.[1]

Many of the UK's motorists believe that the positioning of speed cameras is more to do with raising revenue than reducing accidents - this is a dangerous development
Matt Oliver, Gocompare.com

Speed cameras were first introduced in the UK in 1992 and it's been estimated that they raise around £100m in fines each year.[2]

This may explain why 77% of UK motorists in our survey felt that speed cameras were positioned to catch people out rather than prevent accidents.

In fact, 45% didn't believe that speed cameras reduced accidents.

Drivers in the east and south-east of England were the least supportive of speed cameras, with 49% of people from the region believing that speed cameras should be abolished.

The research also suggested that the presence of speed cameras doesn't necessarily change everyone's general driving habits. Advanced driving courses

A total of 29% of the motorists surveyed admitted that they only slowed down as they approached a camera, then sped up after they'd passed it.

Speed cameras and safety

"Speeding is a very clear and obvious danger on the roads," said Gocompare.com's Matt Oliver.

"Fixed and mobile cameras are amongst the methods used by the police in a very genuine attempt to address this and reduce the risk of accidents.

"Gocompare.com's research suggests that a lot of drivers don't see things in this light, however.

Speeding and fuel costs

  • Increased fuel costs are one of the more minor drawbacks of speeding, but remember that this area can significantly hit you in the pocket.

    What's more, there'll be increased wear and tear on your vehicle, again making it more expensive to be on the road.

  • Try our fuel cost calculator

"Many of the UK's motorists believe that the positioning of speed cameras is more to do with raising revenue than reducing accidents.

"This may contribute to the dangerous trend that sees them slow down for the camera then speed up when they're out of the lens's gaze."

Other costs of speeding

While the safety implications of such behaviour are the most troubling, Oliver warns that such irresponsible driving can also hit motorists in the pocket.

"If you're caught speeding, you're facing a hefty fine or the cost of a speed awareness course - but that's just the start," said Oliver.

"A fine will also usually be accompanied by an endorsement on your driving licence, and this will result in increased car insurance premiums.

"In one example, Gocompare.com found that having three points on your licence for a speeding offence could raise a policy quote by £286.[3]

"Even if you've chosen the speed awareness route, you'll have to declare the fact that you broke the laws of the road when you take out insurance.

"Again this is likely to mean an increase in the cost of your premium, although the effect may not be as significant or as long-lasting as if you have points."

Risk of a driving ban

Of course, if you rack up 12 or more points on your licence from driving convictions you're at immediate risk of losing your right to be on the road.

"A driving ban can have an impact on your life that's huge and difficult to quantify," said Oliver.

"Your job may demand that you drive, it may be your only way of getting to work, you may have family or friends who rely on you being able to transport them...

"Speeding can have a devastating impact on life - both your own, and that of others.

"Slow down - for your own sake, for that of your passengers and for fellow road users."

By Sean Davies