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Last Updated: Monday, 8 March, 2004, 10:15 GMT
Should there be more speed cameras?
A highly visible speed camera on Tavistock Road, Plymouth
The Association of Chief Police Officers has confirmed that hundreds more speed cameras will be placed across Britain in the next 12 months.

By 2005 all but one police force in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be signed up to the scheme.

The millions raised from fines will be used to maintain and extend the camera network.

Critics said many cameras were only placed to make money.

Does Britain need more speed cameras? Are they in the right places and are more needed?


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

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

Over here they seem to be adopting a much more realistic approach, close to schools etc it's a 30kmph limit over a raised and marked area, so it's not so easy to sail through without noticing your speed, plus some pretty ferocious sleeping policemen/speed humps that guarantee you slow down or lose your front suspension. I hate driving back in the UK, I also have received advanced driver training and understand about stopping distances etc, but now it just seems a continual round of revised (always downwards) speed limits plus immediate installation of cameras...why? Has this area suddenly become a blackspot ? Or is the camera there just to pay the salary of a much needed guy on the beat.
Phil, Nimes, France

I have been driving for twenty five years, ten of them as a professional driver. You can put up all the speed cameras you want, they don't bother me. I have never been caught speeding because I don't speed. On a related note, as a driver I have never been involved in a road traffic accident. (Been knocked off my push bike a few times though).
Chris, Manchester, England

As a careful driver who does not speed, I find it very worrying that when approaching those cameras, I am subconsciously more worried about passing them and not being flashed, even though my speed is below the limit, than concentrating on the road and cars around me.
Frank Bradshaw, Horsham, UK

I've got a foolproof way of not paying the government extra taxes. Keep to the limit!
Gerry Noble, Salisbury, UK

A far more effective deterrent to speeding is the placement of signs that illuminate and display the speed limit as you approach them
Richard, Longfield, Kent

I do not have a problem with more cameras being placed at known accident black spots or potentially dangerous areas like junctions or outside schools. But it appears that most are placed on "safe" stretches of road and therefore are doing nothing but acting as another revenue stream from the motorist. I have found a far more effective deterrent to speeding is the placement of signs that illuminate and display the speed limit as you approach them if you happen to be travelling too fast.
Richard, Longfield Kent

The link between speeding and the likelihood of being involved in a crash is overwhelming. Even if crashes were due purely to 'driver error' high speeds ensure that any error will have serious consequences, so making it vital that speeds are reduced. Speeding is anti-social, selfish and intimidates vulnerable road users so they are deterred from walking and cycling. We need far more covert cameras so drivers don't just slow down where there is a bright yellow box by the side of the road. Money from cameras should be used to pay for more traffic police to catch those driving whilst uninsured, drunk, under the influence of drugs, illegally using a mobile phone and so on.
Howard, Hull

Even the police admitted that without public support, their job is very much harder - I don't know of a single person who I work with who supports speed cameras on open roads - 30 and 40 zones are not a problem, but where there is 50+ limits it is just a get rich quick scheme for the police. They say that they are only sited on accident black spots - how come then is there not a single fixed camera on the Cat and Fiddle road even though it is published as being "allegedly" the most dangerous road in Britain?
Dave Henshall, Macclesfield, Cheshire

Speed is not the biggest cause of accidents - it is 7%.There is no real justification, other than it is easy to catch people travelling over the speed limit, and then make money as a result. What are the plans to catch the tailgaters, drunks, dangerous drivers, joy riders....they are the real dangers on the roads. There is a deadly silence from both police chiefs and politicians.
L Kelly, UK

It is the most transparent highway robbery
Richard, Sheffield, England
Before I passed my test recently (I'm 28) I thought that speed cameras were a good thing, now I realise that they are no more than useless money creators most of the time. I have to agree with the majority of the statements already made, You never see speed camera's anywhere near a school or on a village high street. They are reserved for roads capable of accommodating higher speeds, and then a 40 mph limit is imposed. It is the most transparent highway robbery and every time and police / government spokesperson says otherwise, in my view, they are being paid to be economical with the truth.
Richard, Sheffield, England

We can't simply pick and choose which laws we break in this country and which ones we adhere to. If you don't like the fact you're breaking the law by speeding, then get a bus. Why should speeding drivers be allowed to get away with increasing the risk of death and injury to pedestrians and other road users.
Graham Howson, Brighton

Why all the fuss? Place them near accident blackspots for the safety issue and then as many places as will catch law breakers. The more drivers fined for breaking the law, the less money the Police need to raise from Council Tax precepts. If the cameras could be set to catch muggers in the act I don't think we would be at all resistant to them. This is drivers feeling they can do what ever they like and then get upset when they get caught. Pay the fines, be quiet or drive within the speed limit.
David Parker, Bristol, UK

There should be a minimum speed limit of 80 on motorway, we don't still live in the 1960's! I live in Germany at the moment and no speed limit here on the motorway works wonders! Secondly, speed cameras should only, in my opinion, be around schools etc, where keeping to a maximum of 30 mph is vital. Thirdly, I think that healthcare, education and improving the transport systems are better ideas and will bring a lot more back to the economy and general welfare of the public than a speed camera will do. Surely one CT scanning machine saves more lives than one speed camera?
Samantha Birchall, Munich, Germany

If you don't like being "taxed" by speed cameras, you can always try sticking to the speed limit.
Alex , London

I think that the police forces are losing their sense of person
Geoff, Basingstoke, UK

I think that the police forces are losing their sense of person. Surely many cases would be better suited to a warning and a chat with a police officer to educate the driver rather than instant and automated justice? Don't we have time for this anymore?
Geoff, Basingstoke, UK

We could use a cheap, simple electronic transmitter in each car into which you can enter the licence of any bad driver you see or experience. Their registration (your complaint) would then be recorded on a central database. Fines, charges etc. could be issued when pre-decided numbers of entries of the driver's registration have been received.
Nathan, Exeter, UK

After operating costs, speed cameras have contributed only 5 million (a mere 25p per car) to the treasury over the last 18 months, so they're clearly not for tax gathering. I much prefer the idea of using roads where everyone is going along at a speed where they have time to see all the upcoming hazards and speed cameras help this happen, so I'm in favour.
Ambrose Nankivell, Walsall, West Midlands

Speed cameras can be held responsible for the general deterioration in driving standards
Chris Shaw, Huddersfield, UK
Speed cameras are being used to replace traffic police, not free them for other road traffic duties. As such, speed cameras can be held responsible for the general deterioration in driving standards. Motorists are now more concerned with keeping to the speed limit just where cameras are sited, rather than in being better drivers - i.e. more alert. Moreover, speed cameras are also responsible for a reduction in the respect with which motorists hold the police.
Chris Shaw, Huddersfield, UK

Having recently had a bad accident on an unmarked, unlit (but main road) that was described to me by the police as an accident blackspot, I want more money to be spent on making our roads safer to drive on, not on speed cameras! Most people just slow up for them anyway, then speed on their way.
Mark, Worcestershire

There are enough out there as it is. Why waste tax payer's money. What we do need is system which forces people to undergo a re test every so many years, e.g. every ten. It may sound petty but many drivers slip into bad habits after their test and don't keep up with changing laws. A safer driving experience all round will be far more effective in cutting accidents or death rates than anything else.
Karen, London, UK

Unfortunately, it seems that many motorists take little or no notice of speed limits unless there is a speed camera to "remind" them. It is a regrettable necessity to increase the number of cameras until the financial consequences are sufficient for these selfish people to keep within the law.
Dave, Sheffield, England

The cameras have proven to be ineffective in reducing road deaths, therefore the cost of new cameras cannot be justified. I do not want my taxes to pay for unnecessary equipment, I'd rather it went towards improving safety measures in inner city areas to combat violence in the street. Speeding is not high on my list of priorities and I suspect when people think about it then it wont be on theirs either.
David R, Plymouth UK

If a camera is placed next to a playground or school then this is fine
Ian H, Sevenoaks, Kent

If a camera is placed next to a playground or school then this is fine. I also wouldn't mind if the money raised was used to improve the roads, but it is not. It is just another form of taxation on the poor motorist.
Ian H, Sevenoaks, Kent

I wish we didn't need all the cameras, but the fact is that most drivers are criminals and the police would be negligent if they didn't attempt to catch them before yet more people die. Speeding causes massive levels of death and injury. It is therefore a violent crime which ought to be dealt with in the same way as assault or robbery.
Tim, Bath, England

Speed cameras cause accidents! Every motorist automatically hits their brakes first whatever speed they are doing when they see a camera. This has a knock on effect and eventually some one is too close to the car in front! Why are speed cameras not put in the towns where excess speed really is dangerous?
Charles Clark, North Shields, England.

There is and always will be a perception that this is simply a revenue raising measure. Speed Cameras do not detect those motorists driving under the influence of drink or drugs, and fail completely to detect those motorists who only slow down where the cameras are sited, and often drive dangerously fast at other times.
John Staples, Enfield, UK

Surely we have the technology to put automatic speed limiters into vehicles
Sarah, Chester, UK

Surely we have the technology to put automatic speed limiters into vehicles. As you pass into an area with a certain speed limit a signal is sent to the vehicle which automatically reduces the speed to the limit for that area.
Sarah, Chester, UK

They put up speed limit signs, speed camera warning signs, paint the cameras bright yellow and put little white lines on the road - if you are paying so little attention that you miss all of this - you shouldn't be driving at all!
Lee, Stevenage, England

I think the more cameras there are the more risk people are to causing a car crash due to their deceleration when approaching, I think they should only be in problem areas where there are a large number of fatalities, or car accidents.
Ricky Viner, Portsmouth, England

It's easy - don't speed, and you don't get fined. If you speed you are breaking the law!
Stan Marsh, London, UK

There should be more speed cameras, more CCTV cameras, and more cameras to control and monitor the population. Hello 1984
Rupert Butler, London UK

Speed cameras cannot be called tax gatherers. If you pass them at a legal (and safe) speed, they will not go off and you will pay nothing. Break the speed limit and risk your own and other people's safety and you deserve every pound you have to pay. Trying to call speed cameras a kind of secret tax is just a way of trying to escape the responsibility of driving. My one complaint about speed limits is motorways - modern cars can quite safely travel on this type of road at 80mph, so the speed limit should be altered accordingly. As for the rest - leave them as they are, enforce them, and stop the speeding drivers hassling me because I drive within the speed limits.
Jill Cockerham, Leeds, UK

More emphasis needs placing on poor driving skills, not speed
Stuart, Worcester
Travelling below speed limits can still result in accidents and injuries. More emphasis needs placing on poor driving skills, not speed. It is possible to speed and be far more aware of the dangers than many drivers I see, who clearly don't have the skill, above or below the speed limits.
Stuart, Worcester

I think speed cameras are inefficient because people slow down for them and then speed up again.
Nicole, London, UK

Originally speed cameras were for road safety, now they are just to raise revenue where ever possible, speed does not kill, bad driving does.
Malcolm French, High Wycombe

Between over zealous traffic wardens patrolling pay and display area's, the waste of expensive petrol in traffic, and speed camera's looking out for me, I'd rather save my money and stay at home.
Mike, Merseyside

The use of speed cameras has reached a ridiculous level now. This procedure is invasive and causes worse driving rather than improving it. Speed does not kill bad driving kills. This is simply an easy way to maximise revenue and improve police crime clean up rates by an automated procedure. It must stop now!
Ijaz B, London, UK

I am utterly amazed that this country relies almost exclusively on fixed speed cameras to detect speeding
Roger M, Oxford

I am utterly amazed that this country relies almost exclusively on fixed speed cameras to detect speeding. It would be far more effective to remove every single fixed camera and replace them with a few dozen mobile cameras used to target blackspot areas where speeding is most dangerous. This would also increase the police presence on the roads, allowing them to target the multitude of offences that cameras are completely useless in detecting (tailgating, undertaking, failing to keep left etc etc etc).
Roger M, Oxford, UK

With current radio and computer technology it is possible to physically limit a vehicle's speed to the stretch of road it's on. This would mean that no vehicle could break the speed limit. It would also mean there would be no revenue from fines!
Laurence W, Bournemouth, Dorset

Speed cameras can do nothing about the real menace on our roads: Unlicensed, untaxed, uninsured, drunk and dangerous drivers
Rob, Manchester

Speed cameras can do nothing about the real menace on our roads: Unlicensed, untaxed, uninsured, drunk and dangerous drivers. We need better driver, cyclist and pedestrian training, combined with the intelligence and discretion of trained police officers. The last thing we need is more blind, mindless robots. Unfortunately, the former costs money, whilst the latter raises it.
Rob, Manchester, UK

Of course these cameras are needed. How will the Police's new role as Inland Revenue Inspectors be paid for without more?
Roger Morgan Freedlan, Whitwick, UK

We have a stretch along Blackpool Prom where there are four cameras on the same side of the road in a space of one mile, three of which cover a half mile stretch. Do we really need so many cameras in such a small area? I don't think so. Blackpool Council has placed them there to raise revenue. Surely three in a half mile stretch is over kill?
Andrew Knight, Blackpool

The more the merrier! If you break the law expect to be caught and heavily fined... no one is exempt so live with it and stop moaning. I am a driver by the way... a law abiding one!
Gregg, UK

Speed cameras are now recognised as tools of oppression and taxation. They most certainly do not save lives, as a look at the national statistics will prove. They do not catch the tailgater, the reckless overtaker, the drug-driver or the unlicensed driver. They are being used to make driving a frustrating experience, and the sooner the police realise that the public are turning against them the better.
Andrew Howlett, UK

In Staffordshire this appears to be the only place that they aren't
Paul Sealey, Cannock

The only location where these cameras have a place is in residential areas and outside schools. In Staffordshire this appears to be the only place that they aren't. They're placed in situations where they're most likely to catch drivers, whether or not there is an issue with danger being caused by excessive speed in that area.
Paul Sealey, Cannock, England

There are currently 42 cameras, and a further 18 proposed in the borough of Blackpool. These have been installed at a cost to the tax payer of 2.1 million. Some of the sites are less than 300 yards apart. Some of the sites have had no KSI accidents in the last 10 years. The purpose of these things is clear: tax the motorist off the road. Enough is enough.
Phil, Blackpool, UK

Why can't similar numbers of CCTV cameras be put in our residential streets to tackle other crimes? That would be a far more popular use of cameras for the tax payers.
Duncan, Salisbury, UK

There is a crime epidemic in the UK yet the police are wasting resources on easy pickings.
Bill, Cardiff, UK

I soon realised that where black spots are, cameras aren't, and vice versa
Malcolm Cupis, Bristol

I recently bough a device called a Road Angel, which uses GPS and a database to warn you where genuine accident blackspots are (as well as all types of speed camera). I soon realised that where black spots are, cameras aren't, and vice versa. We should have speed cameras, but they should be at genuine blackspots and in urban areas (residential streets and outside shops and schools). Most of the cameras I come across in my 20,000-odd miles a year are sited on roads which have had limits arbitrarily reduced from NSL to 30/40mph. They are there to make money.
Malcolm Cupis, Bristol, UK

Although I have passed the Advanced Driving Test - which requires heightened awareness of and adherence to speed limits - I am totally opposed to existing revenue cameras, let alone hundreds of new ones. They are another example of this government's obsession with policing on the cheap; and they are nothing more than money-making devices.
Paul, Milton Keynes, England

Why not? Breaking the speed limit is a crime, so they are a cheap and effective way of catching criminals. That frees up police time for other matters, such as targeting dangerous driving that is unrelated to speed.
Stewart, Aberystwyth, Wales

Stewart your point would be valid if cameras weren't being used as a replacement for traffic police. Numbers of traffic police have been cut by 1/3, drink and dangerous driving are on the increase and we continue to erect more cameras. The year on year reduction in road casualties that we have had since the 70s has slowed and ceased since the mass introduction of speed cameras. Casualties may actually be starting to rise again and we continue to erect more cameras.

We need a balanced approach to road safety, with increased responsibility taken by both drivers and pedestrians. We need more traffic police to cut down on dangerous driving, drunk driving and the growing number of cars outside the system that completely avoid detection by cameras.
David, Warrington

Why don't we take it one stage further and install a device in every car which automatically issues a fine if you go over the speed limit.
Martin B, Eastbourne, UK

I think that Britain needs less speed cameras and more things like what I am seeing in this area like a display which shows your speed to you with a smiley face on if you're not breaking the speed limit. They are more effective than speed cameras and cannot be criticized for making money and not preventing accidents.
Kevin D, Eastbourne, UK

I go past a dozen of these things every day and only two or three are justified in terms of road safety, the rest are tax gatherers.
Brian W, Chelmsford, UK





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