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Last Updated: Monday, 18 April, 2005, 20:14 GMT 21:14 UK
Will motorway speed cameras improve safety?
Speed camera
Cameras targeting drivers who exceed the UK's motorway speed limit have been introduced along part of the M4.

The Wiltshire Safety Camera Partnership has installed fixed cameras and marked vans along a 40-mile stretch of the motorway between Bath and Hungerford.

Drivers who exceed the 70 mile per hour limit will face 60 fines and three penalty points.

The group says it hopes the cameras will reduce the high number of deaths on the route but there are concerns that the move could be seen as a money making exercise and lead to possible panic-braking.

What do you think of the introduction of speed cameras along the M4? Will they improve motorway safety?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Kate, UK:
What are your views on the M4 speed cameras? Do you think there should be speed cameras on motorways?

Here's a radical proposal. Now that we have the technology to monitor speed and predict congestion, why not have variable speed limits like they've got on the M25 - but if the motorway's empty and the road surface is dry, I see no reason why the speed limit couldn't go up to 80 or 90.
Chris Neville-Smith, Durham, England

Revenue raising? Probably. Still, if the government wants to get money, let it get it from those who break the law. How can you complain if you do not intend to break the law? Let's tax these people more!
Andrew, London

Why aren't we producing cars that have a fixed upper speed limit rather than rely on the driver to limit their speed?
Richard, Oxford, UK

It is nonsense to complain about enforcement. If you think 70mph is too low don't complain having the rules enforced channel your energy into getting the speed limit raised.
Stella, Yeovil, UK

Roll on the next Conservative government who have said they will raise the limit to 80mph
Julian, Swindon, Wilts
Roll on the next Conservative government who have said they will raise the limit to 80mph. A far more comfortable speed and one that the vast majority of motorists already used as the norm.
Julian, Swindon, Wilts

Average speed cameras are what's needed, along with mandatory short term bans and then longer and longer bans for repeat offenders! There are too many cars on the road, let's remove the worst drivers!
Simon, Poole, England

The opening paragraph of the California Highway Code contains the sentence "Driving is a privilege; not a right." I think this should apply to the UK too. People have been given the freedom to make the responsible choice and drive safely, and many of them have chosen not to. Therefore, in the interest of the collective good, I would call for limits on car engine sizes and as many speed cameras as the police desire.
Andy Pearson, Stafford, UK

Great idea - but how about some concessions back, like introducing a higher motorway speed limit between the hours of 10pm and 5am when hardly anybody is on the road. How can a motorist be a danger travelling at 85mph when there is nobody around? I do a lot of night time driving between London and Scotland I'm sick and tired of having to crawl along at 3am at a speed limit designed for safety during peak hours. Some common sense is needed here.
Paul H, Essex

No, they won't improve safety, however they will stop speeding, for small stretches of the road. The pro-camera brigade need to stop playing the safety card, and the anti-camera brigade need to stop playing the victim card.
Lee, Hebburn, England

Inappropriate speed to suit traffic conditions is the fundamental cause of motorway fatalities
Matt, Leeds, UK
Inappropriate speed to suit traffic conditions is the fundamental cause of motorway fatalities, not speed itself; comparative studies of M6 toll road and other parts of the M6 have concluded this! Reducing traffic congestion is the answer; how about a reduction in road tax for HGVs that use motorways between 10pm and 7am, encouraging distribution services to move towards overnight operation.instant congestion reduction!
Matt, Leeds, UK

How can you call speeding fines a tax? You only pay the fine if you choose to break the speeding limit. I choose not to and as a result have never been fined. It's not that hard is it?
Paul, Cardiff

The 'don't speed and you won't get caught' brigade are really living in a dream world. What if a person needs to speed temporarily to overtake safely? Or takes his or her eyes of the speedo for a second to look at the road and so slips over the limit? We need more common sense with regard to these tax machines, and that includes looking at motorway speed limits which are unnecessarily low.
Phil, Newcastle, UK

As a regular user of that stretch of the M4 I have seen the aftermath of many accidents. However many seem to involve Heavy Goods Vehicles, which are restricted to 60mph. I don't believe speeding is the only cause and I feel this initiative is purely about making money, not about solving the problem.
Graham, Bristol, Avon

The magic solution for everything! Find a way to get money from the public that looks like is for good reasons. I am still trying to find a camera next to a school or a non busy B road.
Theo, Uxbridge, UK

I travel the M6 Junction 15 to 16 every day. This is an accident black spot. I believe 90% of the accidents are caused by wagons overtaking and taking up to five miles to do so. This forces all the rest of the traffic into one lane. On the continent it is illegal for wagons to overtake between 0600 - 1000 hours and 1600 - 1900 hours. This would aid congestion and lower the levels of accidents and road rage.
Hilary Washington, Crewe, Cheshire

Will we really see a reduction in accidents?
David Brackin, London

Will the BBC please follow-up on this story in six months? This can be a flagship case for testing whether speed cameras really work. Will we really see a reduction in accidents? (Perhaps yes with reduced ice and fog in the summer months?) Will we simply see an increase in road-deaths off the motorway (several people I know who use this route have already got rural alternatives figured out). Responsible journalism would demand that we find out which of the people reported here is telling porky pies...
David Brackin, London, UK

It's not speeding drivers that are the main problem, it's lane hogs. They won't move over to the empty lanes, causing driver frustration, hence speed. Sort out the hogs and save lives!
George Dorman, Bexleyheath Kent

Whenever you try and observe the speed limit, you get a van or a bloke in an executive car up behind you pushing you faster and faster. Cameras are a joke! We need more police patrols to get these bullying blokes off the road and off my bumper!
sue, Twickenham

Whatever happened to SPECS? It was trialled on this part of the M4. I cannot see what sense a static, standalone camera makes on a motorway when the 'average speed between two points' enforces limits without the risk of panic- braking!
Andy H, Lacock, Wiltshire

I've recently completed a driving improvement course, and now I can see how bad others are at driving: this will do nothing, except make the situation worse.
Christopher Teague, Wales

Who or what is Wiltshire Safety Camera Partnership? Are there similar partnerships in other counties? Who benefits from the fines received? There's no shortage of organisations trying to slow traffic down but how about creating an agency dedicated to assisting or improving traffic flow?
David, Hertford, UK

National speed limit on motorways could be 80mph if motorway skills were included in the driving test
Soph, Scotland
I used to regularly travel on the A90 between Dundee and Aberdeen; this has 13 speed cameras on it. It is the main route north and there are still many deaths on this road. It just means people speed up in between the cameras and actually does nothing to address the real issues behind poor driving skills on Motorways/dual carriageways. There is a large number of people who stay in the wrong lanes while driving on the motorway, this coupled with the fact of poor indication when changing lanes causes more problems than the speed itself. I think that national speed limit on motorways could easily be 80mph if motorway skills were included in the driving test.
Soph, Scotland

Could someone please explain to me how speed cameras can possibly result in panic braking? Criminals might do this I suppose, since they might conceivably not want to get caught doing something illegal?
Roger, UK

An accident can only occur when two objects crash into each other. These cameras don't solve why this happens, it simply sees the speed of vehicles. If I were going 100mph I am safe, but I am not if an idiot pulls in front of me. Why aren't we focussing on the real causes of accidents - bad driving? Because there's no easy money in it.
Nat, London, UK

If you don't want to get caught - don't speed
J, London
It's quite simple - speeding is illegal. If you are going to do it, then you must put your hands up when (or if) you are caught. If you don't want to get caught - don't speed: it's really alarmingly simple.
J, London

Of course it won't work. It will also introduce the new danger of people fixated on their speedometers at 70mph not noticing traffic up ahead is slowing down. I've lost count of the number of accidents I've seen on the M4 and elsewhere caused purely by congestion. Ultimately, the only way to stop people's gross speeding in this country is to impose speed limiters on every new car. Anyone caught modifying their car for greater performance would receive a fine and points and be made to change it back. Job done.
Jeff, Loughborough

Speed cameras should be hidden. There is absolutely no reason for them to be in plain sight, it just means offending motorists can slam on the brakes and get away with it. If all cameras were unmarked then people would have to drive slower all the time, or be punished.
Adam, York

Speed cameras are one of the most dangerous inventions ever. What does everyone do when approaching one? They take their eyes off the road to check their speedometer. You have a combination of sudden braking and no one looking at the road ahead. Madness. Let's have signs saying "hedgehogs crossing" instead. At least it'll make drivers look at the road in front of them.
Paul, Seaton Sluice, Tyne and Wear

I suspect more drivers have died as a result of ignorance than speed
Pete, Bristol
I suspect more drivers have died as a result of ignorance than speed. Will the cameras pick out vehicles driving at the limit in fog? Incorrectly loaded vehicles? Vehicles that abruptly change direction? The standard of driver education in this country is dire - and like other forms of education should be ongoing. Cameras cannot give one-to-one advice on safety in the same way a police officer can.
Pete, Bristol

As the police force are just enforcing the law and not trying to make money, how about all the money the fines raise, go straight to the NHS to help pay of all of these accidents. I'm certain they wouldn't be as keen.
Matt, Bristol

What a good idea. Put something on a motorway to make people suddenly brake hard at high speed. Until someone comes up with a solution to stop tailgating, this is tantamount to causing accidents rather than reducing them.
Ian, Canterbury, Kent

This is ridiculous. The 70 speed limit was placed decades ago when travelling at 70 was considered fast for any car. Today's cars are much better equipped for power, brakes, vision and much more - that's why drivers exceed 70 and have to slow down, NOT because they are bad drivers.
Baron Turner, Bridgwater, Somerset, UK

These cameras will cause crashes, not prevent them
Dave, London, UK
Ludicrous, short-sighted and downright dangerous. The number of councils whose heads remain firmly lodged in the clouds astounds me. These cameras will cause crashes, not prevent them. Let's have sections of the motorway monitored using number plate cameras rather than 40 yards of mayhem.
Dave, London, UK

It is perfectly reasonable to want to reduce death on the roads. So why not focus on those roads which are least safe and in a way that does not show the police as devoid of ideas and open to accusations of raising money.
Richard Moore, Watford, Herts

The basic argument that most people seem to conveniently ignore is that if you are driving faster than 70mph you are breaking the law. If you are not breaking the law then the speed cameras will ignore you.
Stephen Mortimer, Reading, UK

There is a reason that speed cameras were removed from motorways in the first place. They were considered to be dangerous because people slammed on the brakes! Who voted for this? This is undemocratic and makes me lose faith in the whole system.
Rick Cuthbert, London UK

Why not just do away with the cameras, and put a coin slot in every car so that the driver has to put a pound coin in every few miles. At night the Police can come round and empty the boxes, as all they seem to be these days is revenue collectors. No film to develop and the police can get on with the job of collecting money which is easier than actually policing the roads.
Kieran, Swindon

Putting speed cameras will cause panic braking and make that stretch a more dangerous place to drive
G H, Reading UK
I regularly drive down that stretch of the M4. Putting speed cameras will cause panic braking and make that stretch a more dangerous place to drive. I am tempted to buy a radar detector so I can have a warning for when the drivers in front of me will start slamming on their brakes.
G H, Reading UK

Speed does not kill, it's the inappropriate use of speed along with inadequate skills that kills. There is no problem doing 100 mph on a clear motorway, and at other times 60mph can be too fast. The government is just using the cameras to gain yet more money from us and the police are targeting the motorist as it's much easier than tackling real criminals.
N Cross, Bristol, UK

Another tax on motorists in another name. If there was really a concern about safety they would put more police on the roads to catch the drivers that are dangerous rather than the poor person a few miles per hour over the speed limit. Until they make a camera that detects bad and dangerous driving I think they are purely for the generation of revenue
David, London

It's just another simple money making scheme: 80mph is the natural average speed. The speed limit should be increased to a realistic 80mph, then speed cameras would be OK.
James Langley, London

While nobody likes speed cameras, something has to be done - there seems to be a crash almost everyday within the Wiltshire section of the M4. Let's just hope the new measures reduce the amount of accidents.
Martin, Swindon

The purpose of a motorway is to allow the fast movement of traffic from A to B. The authority should be dealing with the more important problem of dangerous driving, which does not necessarily involve high speeds. Motorways would also be safer with the reduction of HGVs by making rail freight more attractive for the movement of goods.
John Laughton, Bristol

Cameras will not make a significant difference to the accident rate. I live in Reading and work in Bristol so am pretty familiar with that stretch of the road. Accidents tend to be caused by lorries pulling out, by poor lane discipline near junctions and rarely by speed alone. Let's have an 85mph limit on the motorways and stricter control of lane usage by lorries.
Keith, Reading

Yes, I agree with speed cameras on motorways. The very large number of cars which pass my husband and I when we are doing the maximum permitted speed is frightening. Anything to make motorways safer can only be to the good.
Maureen Condron, Preston, Lancs, UK

Surely the biggest danger on the motorway is people tailgating - not necessarily the speed itself. Shouldn't the police be concentrating on tailgaters.
Anon, Hampton, UK

If speed cameras are soon to proliferate on all our motorways - and you can safely bet that they will, with or without the support of the public - then the government should guarantee that the extra revenue raised is either ploughed back into improving our appalling road surfaces or funding a public transport system that actually works.
Bryan Whitfield, Wootton Bassett, GB

Speed cameras on fast roads are a dangerous menace. My route to work is almost all 70mph dual carriageway, with 9 cameras. On many occasions I've had people in front of me panic brake (even if they were already within the limit) - down to as low as 30mph in one case. What kind of safety improvement is that?
Mal Lansell, Finedon, England

Increased policing of poor driving on motorways would be a more effective
K Thomas, Wales
As a doctor working with the emergency services attending road traffic accidents, I would agree with the general consensus that the 70 mph speed limit on motorways, and the recent introduction of increased surveillance in Wiltshire, is not sensible. Most serious accidents I attend are caused by poor driving skills, alcohol and drug intoxication, as well as high speed - speed alone seems to play only a small part in contributing to accidents on major roads. I would suggest that increased policing of poor driving on motorways would be a more effective - but not as lucrative - intervention.
K Thomas, Wales

If a political party promised to get rid of fixed speed cameras, they would get my vote. What are the parties promising to do for motorists in the election (besides clogging up the roads with battle buses and their entourages)?
Christian, Lincs, UK

I fail to see how putting up speed cameras on a straight motorway is going to help. There are a lot more factors involved in accidents other than speed. I travel the M4 quite a lot and notice that people drive far too close to each other. If the people who are safely doing 80 mph or so now slow down, cars are going to be bunched-up even more, and you'll probably have more accidents. I'm not against speed cameras in theory, but only where they are sensible. Also, 70mph was made permanent on motorways nearly 30 years ago. Cars handle higher speeds better these days, and they brake better, too. I'd be happy seeing the M4 littered with speed cameras if only the speed limit was 85mph.
Steve Hill, Bristol, England

If the local authorities change the system to make the penalty 'Pay Court Costs and still get your 3 points, but no Fine' that will have the same effect slowing people down but negating the get-rich schemes
S, London

Travelling the 40 miles covered by the speed cameras at a legal 70 rather than an illegal 80 will add just 4.5 minutes to your journey time. Which is, incidentally, a lot less than the delay caused by everyone having a good gawp at yet another crash.
Nick James, Bristol

Absurd. Even the police agree that the current limit is too low and tend not to bother anyone driving sensibly at up to 80mph. These cameras will only result in two things - more revenues and more accidents caused by bunching up the traffic as they approach the known sites of these devices.
Bob, Cheshire

This is another way of taxing the motorist further
Dave, Newcastle, Staffs
This is another way of taxing the motorist further. If any government were serious about speed limits then all new cars would be governed by law to a maximum speed of 70mph. As with smoking, they cannot afford everyone to give up, the revenue raised is too great. What will the new government do to raise revenue when we are all on 12 points? At least congestion will have been eased!
Dave, Newcastle, Staffs

We are constantly being told that the average speed of vehicles in city centres is slower than in the days of the horse and carriage. We also get told that speed kills. Go figure. And no, motorway speed cameras will not improve safety. Bad driving (e.g. using a mobile phone) causes accidents.
Nick, UK

If they were serious about improving safety they would have used the cameras that measure your average speed over large distances. They didn't, they used cheaper ones, enough said.
Jonathan Kelk, Dalry, Scotland

Cameras are just there to raise money. If Police want to improve road safety they should get back to patrolling roads instead of sitting inside drinking tea and watching cameras. The standard of driving on motorways is appalling and getting worse - poor lane discipline, tailgating, failure to check mirrors before pulling out to name a few. Time was you got a blue flash in your mirror and a ticking off when you drove badly on a motorway but no more.
From personal experience, the only thing that has got me to reduce my speed in 13 years of driving has been getting pulled over and getting a thorough lecture by officers in the back of a patrol car. I was let off with a warning but it had far more effect on me that getting caught by a camera would have.
Richard, Birmingham, UK

What we really need are average speed cameras across the UK. These make a note of your car registration and then wait for it to register on the next camera down the road. If you've been timed going over the speed limit for that stretch, you'll be fined and given points. This system allows people to overtake at above the speed limit (which can be necessary at times), eliminates panic breaking and ensures that people won't only obey the limit in those small portions of road with painted stripes.

Speed cameras are here to stay whether the British motoring public like it or not
s, you are clearly incompetent and in need of extra tuition.
Speed cameras are here to stay whether the British motoring public like it or not. However, fines and points on your driving licence can be avoided very easily, "don't speed" if you make the conscious decision to do so and get caught it is your fault and your fault alone, speed cameras don't go off unless the speed limit is exceeded by at least 10 mph. If you as a driver are incapable of controlling the speed of your car within that limit I would suggest you either hand in your driving licence or invest in some driving lessons, you are clearly incompetent and in need of extra tuition.
Simon, Chelmsford

So if after one year there has been no reduction in deaths, do they take the cameras away? I doubt it. Next they will want to reduce the limit to 50mph
Stewart, Twickenham, UK

Another good reason not to go to Wales! Its crazy, cameras are just there to rake in money. Speed itself doesn't cause accidents, driving like a muppet a metre or so behind the car in front (BMW drivers seem to think this is ok) is asking for trouble no matter what speed you're doing.
Brian, Newbury, Berks

As someone who does a lot of motorway driving the average car speed is about 85 MPH, isn't it about time the speed limits were adjusted for modern cars and roads?
John Williams, London

I drive a lot of motorway miles. I have been close to having an accident on several occasions, usually due to someone's careless lane-changing or selfish cutting-in. Never have I once felt endangered simply because another car was going fast. This is nonsense and will do nothing for road safety, although I can imagine it will raise a lot of revenue. And this is from someone who sticks to the limits.
Dick, Wales, UK

I think it's a great idea. If we could collect all government revenue through such taxes on the stupid, I'd be much better off!
Roger, Swindon

This is nothing more than another tax that will make no difference to accidents
Mike, Brighton
Speed is not the major cause of accidents, bad driving is. Unless some has invented a bad driving camera, they are of very limited use. The only way to improve peoples driving is to have more traffic patrols stopping people. This isn't going to happen as it involves spending money rather than pulling it in through fines. This is nothing more than another tax that will make no difference to accidents.
Mike, Brighton

I have frequently watched a camera unit sit at the bottom of a hill on the A419 (where there have been no accidents in my 5 years living in the area). People do not see them until it's too late and then brake very suddenly causing people to swerve and change lanes erratically. Surely the people in the vans see this happening and realise they are not helping.
Andy Frank, Cricklade, Swindon, Wiltshire

Great. I trust that they will be able to pick out a car registration plate when its foggy, or the road surface is throwing up spray - both prime causes of accidents.
Carl J , Oxford

Another politically correct and totally inappropriate attempt to reduce death on our roads
Peter Braidwood, Reading, UK
Another politically correct and totally inappropriate attempt to reduce death on our roads. Speed does not kill, the results of driving too close and too fast for the conditions is what causes the fatal crashes. To call them accidents is a misuse of the term, most accidents are avoidable through simple safe, courteous driving taking account of the prevailing conditions.
Peter Braidwood, Reading, UK

Our motorways are generally very safe compared to other roads. I was on the M4 yesterday and exactly as your report suggested as soon as people saw the lines on the road they slammed on the brakes - I don't see how that reduces safety.
John, Southampton

Why a motorway, one of the safest places to drive, is being targeted is beyond me. How will this get drivers and riders to improve their stopping distances and modify their driving in bad weather? Headline grabbing at its worst.
Mike Lacey, Kegworth

It's not about money making it's about breaking the law
Steve Brehm, Herts
What's the big deal about speed cameras? The law says the speed limit on the M4 is 70mph. If you go over 70, you are breaking the law. It's not about money making it's about breaking the law.
Steve Brehm, Herts

What is needed is more police patrol vehicles and the will to stop motorists who drive aggressively and inconsiderately. Tail gating and lane hogging come to mind. To withdraw patrols and focus solely on speed will not aid safety. Under some circumstances 70mph is too fast!
Simon Heaton, Loughborough

Out of the accidents that hurt or killed those 240 people last year, how many were actually caused by speed in excess of the posted limit and not by tailgating, reading maps or books, shaving, doing hair, using a phone, changing lanes without indicating, swerving from lane 3 to the slip road just in time to make an exit? These cameras will not work (as usual) and the most dangerous drivers will carry on unpunished.
Jerry, Basingstoke, UK

It seems strange to me that, with all the technology available today, that vehicles can't be fitted with speed limiters (they've managed to do it with lorries). Of course, if they did, no revenue would be raised. Coincidence? I think not
Dave, Scunthorpe

Of course speed cameras will not improve motorway safety. Everyone knows that the faster a vehicle is driven, the lower the chance of a collision. This much is obvious, but even if it were not then a quick chat with people in your local pub will soon put you right on this. It's just common sense.
Ron Levy, Rayleigh, UK

This initiative is simply a victory for petty bureaucracy over common sense
Robert, Leighton Buzzard, UK
It is tacitly understood by almost everyone, including the police, that 80mph is a safe speed on motorways. This initiative is simply a victory for petty bureaucracy over common sense - an increasingly frequent occurrence.
Robert, Leighton Buzzard, UK

I note that this is the same partnership that had to refund fines or drop prosecutions as a result of illegal enforcement of speed limits on the A303 recently. Are they just getting their own back on the motorist?
Jerry, Basingstoke, UK

Yes they will improve safety. This is long overdue on this stretch of road. People who have used this road will have seen for themselves the huge number of collisions.
Andrea Murray, Surrey

On a dry road in good visibility you will cause an accident if you stick to the 70mph limit, as you will be 10-15mph slower than anyone else on the road. It was always hammered into me that you should drive at a speed suitable to the road and the conditions. I'd much rather see a flexible limit, where you have a sensible limit for good conditions, but a greatly reduced limit for poor visibility and poor weather.
Simon, UK

As long as there is ample warning - signs 200 yards ahead, for example - then I don't mind too much. It's when they appear out of nowhere and speeding motorists break suddenly that problems develop.
Ed, London

Just drive within the speed limit and you won't get caught. All these bleeding heart campaigners should stop trying to find reasons why cameras should be made more visible or removed altogether and just drive within the law.
Gavin, Swindon, UK

Do speed cameras work as a safety measure? Not if you take an unblinkered look at the statistics. Over the last ten years, thousands of cameras have been installed and two million motorists a year are getting fines and points, yet the number of fatal accidents has stayed almost exactly the same.
Brian W, Chelmsford

Another money making scheme. Everyone knows that motorways are the safest roads. If this particular stretch of road has a high rate of fatalities then there are design faults. The police themselves have been asking for the limit to be raised to 80 mph for years. The whole thing is totally ridiculous.
Derek S, UK

No of course not! Will they catch the lane hogger, the car thief, the lad with no MOT, no tax and therefore no insurance? Speed itself doesn't kill, bad driving and poor motorway discipline does. This is about making money and not dealing with the real issues.
Mike, Worthing

Part time cameras like those on the M25 between Heathrow and the M3 might be justifiable, but permanent speed cameras - no way. We need to overhaul the whole motorway speed limit.
Alex, Aylesbury

I guess cameras make money and new road services cost money
Simon, Bath
A more effective way to reduce accidents is to use porous asphalt which reduces spray to almost nothing, heavy goods vehicles in particular cause fog-like conditions for those in their wake. But then I guess cameras make money and new road services cost money.
Simon, Bath

The solution is quite simple. No one should be allowed to buy or drive a car capable of exceeding the national speed limit. Problem solved.
Mark Blackman, London

Speed cameras are effective in specific accident black spots. However, on motorways what is needed is a change from a fixed to variable speed limit that changes with weather conditions. For example, 70mph in pouring rain and high wind at night is dangerous, but 140mph on a clear, dry day in daylight is far less dangerous.
Philip, Bodmin, Cornwall

My car is fitted with an anti-speed camera device. Behind the steering wheel is a little disc with some numbers around it. If I make sure that the little arm doesn't go above the number stated on the side of the road, then the cameras are beaten!
Nicole, London, UK

I am sick of speed cameras: they have nothing to do with safety at all. They are there to make money
Neil D, Birmingham
I am sick of speed cameras: they have nothing to do with safety at all. They are there to make money, nothing else. The speed limits imposed by these tax cameras are the equivalent of making people pay five pounds for stepping on the cracks in the pavement. If the limit on the cameras was 88 mph then yes, fair enough, but 70 mph is pathetic. They should all be removed now.
Neil D, Birmingham UK

Surely it would be safer to increase the speed limits on motorways as the current one for today's faster cars is out of date. Speed cameras will cause more accidents with people suddenly slowing down only to speed up again.
Lisa, Birmingham

Speed kills. If drivers kept within the limits there would be fewer road deaths and no speeding fines. Stop the road mania or pay.
Carol, East Sussex

As a regular user of that stretch of M4, all I can say is that police will be booking every motorist as everybody exceeds 70mph.
Malc Martin, Swindon

Speed cameras are one big stealth tax! Easy money for the government!
Andy Parry, Caerphilly

Speed cameras are another tax/revenue earner. Typical Labour stealth tax!
Gary, Upminster, Essex

As a regular user of the M4 I look forward to making more contributions to the chancellor. These cameras as with the others are not about safety they are about tax.
Steve, Fleet

Speeding is breaking the law
Peter Parsons, Reading
It's very easy to never get caught by a speed camera - don't speed. Speeding is breaking the law, just as burglary or mugging are. If you break the law, you should be prepared to pay the consequences.
Peter Parsons, Reading

The main causes of accidents on motorways are tiredness, inattention, tailgating and changing lanes without checking mirrors. How these cameras will stop this is beyond me.
Lionel, Devon

I think the speed camera initiative is excellent and should be extended to cover as many roads as possible. The minority of drivers are still not getting the message that speed kills. How many more innocent people have to be killed before the lesson is learnt?
Anthony Tucker, Yeovil

The best way to justify any speed cameras would be to require the 60 fine to be used to fund a compulsory lecture for the offending driver to attend. The time inconvenience would be a penalty in its own right and the educational benefit could assist long-term road safety.
Peter Day, Camberley

If drivers are not breaking the law they will not be penalised by the use of cameras
JC Gill, Derby
If drivers are not breaking the law they will not be penalised by the use of cameras. I'm happy for there to be cameras and for them to be disguised too. There are far too many useless drivers on the road and if the cameras cause their disqualification from driving, then that's fantastic.
JC Gill, Derby

I welcome these cameras on the M4. Sadly the inevitable pile-up caused by an 80mph panic-braker on a damp morning will finally end the myth that these are "safety" cameras and hopefully save us all from their proliferance.
Phillip Holley, London

To counter the claim that cameras are just a revenue raiser, why not just impose penalty points instead? Say one for each 3 mph above the limit? So if you travel at 36 mph above the limit (12 points) then you are immediately banned for 12 months, as is generally the case at present.
G J Robinson, Reading, Berks, UK

We already have safe motorways - Lets leave things as they are for once!
Marc, London
We already have extremely safe motorways compared to the majority of our European neighbours. It is already been proved that the 'caterpillar effect' is caused by speeding up and sudden breaking. This will surely increase the driver impatience that leads to careless driving. Lets leave things as they are for once!
Marc, London

If you speed you should expect to get caught. End of story.
Helen, England

Speed doesn't kill - poor driving does. Some of the people I encounter on the roads would be dangerous even if they stuck to 25mph.
Mark, London

Sensible speed limits, properly enforced, would win the respect of the motoring public and improve compliance. But, of course, this wouldn't raise much revenue, would it?
Mark Jones, Aylesbury

People will still tailgate, undertake and cut up each other as well as speed
Carl, Cardiff
I drive that route at least once a fortnight. People speed along the whole M4, and putting cameras down in just one section is not going to make much difference. People will still tailgate, undertake and cut up each other as well as speed.
Carl, Cardiff

What's wrong with speed cameras being introduced? 70 is supposed to be the top speed you travel at on a motorway. If you don't break the law you have nothing to fear.
Sue, England

It's very easy to never get caught by a speed camera - don't speed.
Peter Parsons, Reading

We already have extremely safe motorways compared to the majority of our European neighbours. It has already been proved that the 'caterpillar effect' is caused by speeding up and sudden breaking. This will surely increase the driver impatience that leads to careless driving. Let's leave things as they are for once!
Marc, London, UK

All you hear from these so-called road safety campaigners is that these cameras save lives, Absolute rubbish. It's been proved time and time again that these cameras do nothing to stop accidents, it's all about revenue raising. I wish these people would have the guts to admit it instead of hiding behind the safety first logo.
Alan Baker, Chelmsford, Essex

I drive that route at least once a fortnight. People speed along the whole M4, and putting cameras down in just one section is not going to make much difference. People will still tailgate, undertake, cut up each other as well as speed.
Carl, Cardiff

You can only fit so many cars in one space
Nic, Derby
Personally I feel that congestion is just as much at fault as speed. Supposedly we are all driving faster yet journeys take 20% longer than 5 years ago according to studies. The amount of lorries is the thing that I notice. Often the outside lane will suddenly slow to a crawl because the two inside ones are full of lorries. You can only fit so many cars in one space and this must contribute to the amount of accidents. Speed cameras and blaming speed is just a lazy excuse for not sorting the transport infrastructure and a way to make money.
Nic, Derby

Having to do the M5 and M6 every Monday and Friday between Yeovil and Preston the only way to stop speeding motorists will be to have more patrol cars. Fixed cameras are only good for 40 yards.
Stuart Waterhouse, Yeovil, England

This will be fun. I live in Swindon by Junction 15 and regularly use the motorway to get to the other side of town (Junction 16) as it's quicker than going through the centre of town. I have never gone over 70 mph as it's too risky getting out into the middle and outer lanes with all the "boy racers and company car drivers" to name a few. Saying that it is a very boring piece of motorway which is probably why concentration slips. The cameras won't improve safety. It is only changing drivers' attitudes that will make a difference. By the way some people drive, it will be a mammoth task!
Anon, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK

The RAC has said that most of the accidents on this stretch of road were caused by tailgating, stopping on the hard shoulder, overtaking without checking mirrors and not slowing down in fog. Motorways are our safest roads, and all this will do is cause more accidents by making drivers brake sharply to slow down for the cameras. It's absolute nonsense.
Helen, Aylesbury

Don't be silly - of course they won't work. It will be the same as on dual carriageways. Everyone anchors up for the camera, smiles at it, gives a wave and speeds up again when it has gone! There is only one way to prevent drivers from speeding and that is to have a greater police presence on the roads. In addition, it still doesn't ease the greatest cause of accidents on the road - tailgating!
Adam, Luton, UK

Speed is only one element of the problem
Rachel, Wiltshire
Whilst placing speed cameras can be a deterrent to speeding, I think poor driving needs to be addressed also. No lane indication, pulling out without checking, braking hard for no reason, people who stay in the middle lane etc. As a commuter on the stretch of the M4 which incurs this introduction, speed is only one element of the problem.
Rachel, Wiltshire

Statistics show that country lanes are the most dangerous roads, so why are they not putting cameras there? Is it because there isn't the traffic volume to make enough in fines?
Ben Bell, Canterbury, Kent, UK

Speed cameras can only be a good thing. If we all slow down we have more time to react in an accident and are less likely to have an accident in the first place. People comment that's it's just a money making scheme. Well don't speed, and they won't make any money, it's not rocket science!!
Ruth Bowyer, Yate, South Glos

I travel daily on the route which has the cameras put up, and notice they have caused more traffic than ever before. All new cars should be linked to the speed cameras to give you a pre-warning that unless you slow down, then you will be booked.
Ian Griffiths, Swindon

Speed cameras, when installed as they have been on the M4, do not slow down the overall speed; instead they cause localised slow-downs in the area immediately surrounding the camera itself. Such slowing often takes the form of emergency braking as someone unfamiliar with the road suddenly spots a camera. This can in turn cause pile ups. If the government really wants to slow people down they should introduces cameras like those on the South West section of the M25 which take pictures digitally and are spaced frequently and evenly.
Rich, Merstham, UK

No - this is just another tax on motorists - motorways are the safest roads in Britain so it is absurd to say it is a safety measure.
Les, Morpeth, England

Speed cameras target M4 drivers
13 Apr 05 |  England

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