One of the most active speed cameras in Shropshire has caught nearly 5,000 drivers speeding on the A5 at Shotatton
The information was revealed in the Shropshire Star earlier this year following a Freedom of Information request. Statistics show that drivers in the county have been caught breaking the law 12,000 times since 2013.
Where are Drivers Getting Caught?
The speed camera on the A5 at Shotatton snapped 4,996 motorists speeding in the last four years, making it Shropshire’s most frequently activated. Meanwhile, in Telford and Wrekin the camera in Station Road, Ketley is the region’s most active, catching 2,085.
Cameras in Shropshire Council area have caught 8,806 motorists in for ‘prosecutable offences’ and 4,147 motorists in Telford and Wrekin.
In 2016 there were a total of 5,454 activations of fixed location speed cameras which recorded prosecutable offences, with 3,797 the year before. In 2014 the figure was 2,387 and 1,315 in 2013.
A spokesperson for Safer Roads Partnership told JT Hughes, “The speed cameras which had the highest activations in West Mercia all form part of our core enforcement programme, where there is a history of road traffic collisions and casualties.
“Enforcement takes place in these locations to reduce speeds and ultimately reduce collisions and casualties on the roads. All our sites are reviewed annually to ensure we are still operating in places where speeds and collisions are still an issue."
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Speed Cameras Cut Collisions
Some motorists argue that speed cameras simply punish speeding offences rather than deter it. Yet new research has found that the use of speeds cameras has on average, cut traffic collisions by 30 percent on average.
The study, led by Professor Dan Graham, a mathematician at Imperial College London, studied data from 771 camera sites in Cheshire, Dorset, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Sussex and the West Midlands.
“Our case studies indicate the speed cameras do cause a significant reduction in road traffic accidents, by as much as 30 percent on average for treated sites,” the report said.
“This is an important result that could help inform public policy debates on appropriate measures to reduce Road Traffic Accidents.”
Telford-based road safety organisation TTC Group has welcomed the research with Director Alan Prosser commenting “People have reduced their speed as a result of safety cameras which can only be a good thing. This report proves they can save lives.”
Support for Speed Cameras
Road safety cameras have been in use across England, Scotland and Wales for over 20 years. They continue to be an emotive subject for motorists, with questions raised about their effectiveness in reducing road traffic incidents, saving lives and whether they are used as a cash cow for police forces.
However, a survey conducted by Direct Line and road safety charity Brake found that 62 percent of drivers said that more enforcement, including traffic cameras and police, would convince them to take more care on the roads.
Drivers in the UK accept that speed cameras do well at reducing speeds with 80 percent of drivers supporting cameras and 79 percent agree that cameras have helped reduce road deaths.
A spokesperson for Brake told JT Hughes “Evidence shows that driving over the speed limit, or travelling too fast for conditions, contributes to a quarter of fatal crashes in the UK. Speed cameras are a proven, cost-effective way of reducing speed and preventing deaths and serious injuries.
“Average speed cameras are particularly beneficial, enforcing limits over a longer stretch of road, and preventing law-breaking drivers from speeding up immediately after passing a camera. Brake’s helpline supports people who have been bereaved and severely injured in road crashes, so we see every day the dreadful consequences of driving too fast.”
Are Speed Cameras Making A Profit?
Britains Most Profitable Speed Cameras have been revealed following a Freedom of Information request by Carole Nash Insurance Consultants, who compiled a report showing the highest earning cameras in the UK.
Although Shropshire didn’t feature in the report, separate statistics show that speeding fines in the West Mercia region generated a total income of £6,393,695 during 2013/14.
Shropshire’s deputy police and crime commissioner Barrie Sheldon spoke to the Shropshire Star to deny accusations that speed cameras are a ‘cash cow’
Mr Sheldon told the Shropshire Star whether its villagers complaining about motorists driving too fast past their houses or people complaining about the excessive use of speed cameras, few issues spark more controversy than speed enforcement.
“I realise speed cameras are extremely divisive things for people,” he said.
“On the one hand we get communities telling us they desperately want more of them locally, and on the other drivers complain about them.
“I would say right away though that they are certainly not anything we profit from in local policing.”
Fixed penalty fines earned £2,478,840, which went to the Treasury. An estimated £450,000 was raised through court fines and also went to the Treasury. Speed awareness courses fees generated £1,834,335, £201,815 of which went to companies which ran the courses and the remaining £1,426,705 went to West Mercia Police.
Mr Sheldon added that the £1,426,705 returned to West Mercia Police which is used solely for road safety purposes and to fund the Safer Roads Partnership.
Drivers in the Dark over New Speeding Fines
Since 24th April 2017, motorists face tougher fines if caught speeding. However, according to Honest John, Eight out of 10 motorists are unaware of new speeding penalties which could see serious speeding offenders pay more.
Fines for the most serious cases will rise by 50 percent in England and Wales. The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and three penalty points. Magistrates will be allowed to convict those who are caught seriously speeding with fines starting at 150 percent of their salary, up from 100 percent in the previous guidelines.
The new fines only apply to Band C court sentences, for example, drivers caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, 51mph in a 30mph zone, or 101mph on a motorway.
Fines will be capped at £1000 for most roads and will rise to £2500 for those caught travelling 101mph on the motorway.
Tougher Penalties Welcomed
TTC Group welcomed the harsher penalties to ‘the few’ irresponsible drivers who drive well above the limit.
“Most people who attend our speed awareness courses would not have deliberately driven over the limit. It is usually an error of judgement and we help them to change their driving behaviour so they stay within the limits in the future,” said Director Alan Prosser.
“Drivers who deliberately drive above the speed limit and flout the law put both themselves and other road users at risk. Driving at reckless speeds of, for example, more than 40mph in a 20mph limit or above 100mph on a motorway is potentially very dangerous.”
At 41mph a vehicle moves 18 meters (60ft) every second considerably reducing a “drivers thinking time” as well as the ability to stop if a child crosses the road outside a school or near a shop.
Brake added “We fully support the increased fines and penalties introduced in April. We also appeal to the government to make traffic policing a national priority, so that speeding drivers know they will be caught and punished.”
Iain Temperton of Road Safety GB told JT Hughes that the enhanced penalty regime will apply to ‘high end’ speeders who have clearly taken a conscious decision to break the posted speed limit.
He added “Therefore we welcome the change. Whilst it may not affect the driver's decision in the immediate sense, the imposition of a robust sentencing tariff should help facilitate a positive societal change in the long term.
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