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70%[1] of UK drivers believe that speed cameras only exist to make money

22 April 2013

A new survey by comparison site Gocompare.com reveals the nation's frustration with speed cameras on British roads.

A new study by comparison site Gocompare.com has found that more than 19 million[2] (70%) UK drivers feel that speed cameras only exist to make money, not to prevent accidents. The findings are revealed following the West Midlands Police Force announcing its decision to scrap 304 fixed speeding cameras in the area, citing the cost of upgrading them as the cause for their removal.
Gocompare.com's research also found that:

  • Almost half (45%) of UK motorist don't believe speed cameras reduce accidents
  • Nearly 1 in 3 (29%) motorists slow down for speed cameras and then speed up again
  • 35% of motorists admit to breaking the speed limit when they ‘consider it safe to do so'[3]
  • Over 12 million (45%) believe that speed cameras should be abolished

Speed cameras were first introduced in the UK in 1992 and have been estimated to raise around £100m[4] in fines each year, which may explain why more than three quarters (77%) of motorists feel that speed cameras are positioned to catch people out rather than prevent accidents. In fact, almost half (45%) don't believe that speed cameras reduce accidents.
The research also suggests that the presence of speed cameras doesn't necessarily change everyone's general driving habits, as almost 1 in 3 (29%) motorists admitted that they only slow down as they approach the camera, and speed up after they have passed it.
27% of motorists indicated that they were most likely to break the speed limit on motorways, whilst over 1 in 10 drivers (12%) were most likely to speed on roads with a 30 mile per hour limit.
Drivers in the east and south east of England are the least supportive of speed cameras, with nearly half (49%) of people from the region believing that speed cameras should be abolished."
Scott Kelly, head of motor at Gocompare.com, said: "There is no doubt that speeding makes our roads more dangerous and the police are quite right to use fixed and mobile cameras in an attempt to reduce accidents.
"However, according to our research a lot of drivers believe that the positioning of speed cameras is now more to do with raising revenue than reducing accidents, and many admit to only slowing down for cameras and then speeding up again once they've passed them.
"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. In one example we found that having three points on your licence for a speeding offence can raise insurance premiums by £286[5]. 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."

Notes to editors:

1 - On the 29th March- 2nd April 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 1,395 randomly selected UK drivers who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

2 - ‘Over 19 million' figure is based on there being an estimated 28,420,877 motorists in the UK (Source - Department for Transport vehicle licencing statistics) - 70% of respondents agreed that speed cameras only exist to make money, 70% of 28,420,877 is 19,759,040.

3 - Research commissioned by Gocompare.com, carried out among 2,000 UK drivers on 14 January 2013 by OnePoll

4 - MP David Ruffley (at the time Shadow Police Reform Minister) obtained figures to show that speeding cameras raised £106.4m in fines in 2006

5 - Quote retrieved on 15/04/2013 for a 22 year old office administrator from Cardiff, driving a 2008, BMW 1 Series 116i SE with 1 year's NCB. Cheapest quote without SP30 conviction was £790.76 from Diamond - cheapest quote with SP30 was £1,076.96 also from Diamond - a difference of £286.20.